By the time of his death in 2010 at the age of 84, Sir Charles Mackerras had achieved widespread recognition, recorded extensively and developed into a conductor of major international significance. In addition to areas in which he already had forged a distinctive and definitive profile (Janacek, Mozart, Handel, Sullivan) he revisited - and rethought - much of the standard repertoire. The last thirty years were particularly momentous in the coming to fruition of so many cherished projects: not only the Janacek operas but the Gilbert and Sullivan series, the Mozart operas, the two Beethoven cycles, other projects with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Schumann and Brahms at Edinburgh; the outstanding late Mozart) and at the Royal Opera House and the Met. Unspoilt by fame, and undeterred by personal tragedies and increasing physical frailty, he remained productive and inventive: for him music-making, whether with world-class professionals or with students, was a kind of joyous oxygen that kept him going right to the end. A detailed narrative account of his life by Nigel Simeone is complemented by chapters written by performers and scholars who worked closely with him: Alfred Brendel, Dame Janet Baker, David Lloyd-Jones, Dame Anne Evans, Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Nicholas Hytner, John Tyrrell and Jiri Zahradka. There are also chapters based on interviews with his family. The book is illustrated with photographs, both informal and professional, and is supplemented by an up-to-date discography, by listings of all the performances of Janacek operas Sir Charles conducted and of all his concerts in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. While Sir Charles' whole life is considered, emphasis is given to his final quarter century in which so many important projects were realized. This book celebrates and epitomizes an exceptional life. NIGEL SIMEONE has published books on Janacek, Messiaen and Bernstein. JOHN TYRRELL has published books on Janacek and Czech opera and, with Sir Charles Mackerras, edited two Janacek operas. Contributors: Janet Baker, Alfred Brendel, Ales Brezina, Rosenna East, Anne Evans, Nicholas Hytner, Simon Keenlyside, David Lloyd-Jones, David Mackie, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Antonio Pappano, Nigel Simeone, John Stein, Heinz Stolba, Patrick Summers, John Tyrrell, Malcolm Walker, David Whelton, Jiri Zahradka
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