2: The Life and Work of Pauline Viardot Garcia: The Years of Grace, 1863-1910

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Barbara Kendall-davies
Unabridged edition

This is the second volume of the Life and Work of Pauline Viardot Garcia: The Years of Grace, 1863-1910. Viardot was an international opera singer, composer and teacher who was seminal in the world of music in the 19th century. She came from a famous family of musicians, her father being the Spanish tenor Manuel del Popolo Vicente Rodriguez Garcia. Her mother, Joaquina Sitches, was also a singer and taught Pauline; her brother Manuel Patrizio Garcia was an eminent singing teacher and inventor of the laryngoscope and her sister was the legendary singer, Maria Malibran. Her friends and colleagues are household names, including the writer, George Sand and her lover Frederick Chopin, Clara and Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, Gabriel Faure, Jules Massenet, Saint-Saens, and Franz Liszt who gave Pauline piano lessons and on whom she had a girlish crush. Though considered ugly, she had a unique fascination and several men fell in love with her, including her husband, Louis Viardot, historian and man of letters; the Russian writer, Ivan Turgenev; Maurice Sand, artist son of George Sand; the composers Charles Gounod and Hector Berlioz, as well as her mentor, the painter, Ary Scheffer. Although famous in her day, after her death in 1910, she fell into obscurity but her songs are appearing again and her influence as a teacher of singing has spread worldwide. The first volume of the Kendall-Davies biography covers Viardot's international singing career from 1836 to 1863 and the second volume, although also featuring her performances, concentrates more fully on her work as a composer and teacher as well as a famous musical hostess. In addition to being the life of a fascinating woman, both professionally and personally, the book is also a portrait of an age, culturally, socially and politically. As Kendall-Davies' first volume, the Life and Work of Pauline Viardot Garcia: The Years of Fame, 1836-1863, was only the second Viardot biography in English, her work has been seminal and has attracted interest worldwide. The second volume: The Years of Grace, 1863-1910, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, has been enthusiastically anticipated and includes a CD of three Viardot songs performed by baritone, Giles Davies.