The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski is one of the most fascinating musical figures of the early twentieth century. His works included four symphonies, two violin concertos, the operas Hagith and King Roger, the ballet-pantomime Harnasie, the oratorio Stabat Mater, as well as numerous piano, violin, vocal and choral compositions. The profile and popularity of Szymanowski's music outside Poland has never been higher and continues to grow. The Szymanowski Companion constitutes the most significant and comprehensive reference source to the composer in English. Edited by two of the leading scholars in the field, Paul Cadrin and Stephen Downes, the collection consists of over 50 contributions from an international array of contributors, including recognized Polish experts. The Companion thus provides a systematic, authoritative and up-to-date compilation of information concerning the composer's life, thought and works.
The music of Gustav Mahler repeatedly engages with Romantic notions of redemption. This is expressed in a range of gestures and procedures, shifting between affirmative fulfilment and pessimistic negation. In this groundbreaking study, Stephen Downes explores the relationship of this aspect of Mahler's music to the output of Benjamin Britten, Kurt Weill and Hans Werner Henze. Their initial admiration was notably dissonant with the prevailing Zeitgeist – Britten in 1930s England, Weill in 1920s Germany and Henze in 1950s Germany and Italy. Downes argues that Mahler's music struck a profound chord with them because of the powerful manner in which it raises and intensifies dystopian and utopian complexes and probes the question of fulfilment or redemption, an ambition manifest in ambiguous tonal, temporal and formal processes. Comparisons of the ways in which this topic is evoked facilitate new interpretative insights into the music of these four major composers.
In this glorious celebration of food and eating, Stephen Downes, one of Australia’s foremost food critics and food writers, leads readers through the 100 food experiences they must have before they expire, based on his own culinary encounters, and his astonishing food knowledge and expertise. Some of these experiences are as simple and affordable as making and eating homemade mayonnaise, while others are as glamorous as consuming fried fresh foie gras at the Relais de la Poste in Magesq near Bordeaux.
The strange tale of America's best pianist and the Australian lipstick salesman who immortalised his genius. A compelling and surprising tale of musical passion, tragedy and revival. In his prime, William Kapell was acknowledged to be 'the greatest pianistic talent since Horowitz'. Yet his return flight from Australia - where he toured in 1953 - ploughed into a mountain south of San Francisco and all on board were killed. Kapell's promising career was brutally cut short at the premature age of thirty-one. Roy Preston was a humble cosmetics salesman at Myer with a passion for home recording. Using a Royce recorder to cut microgroove discs off radio, he recorded William Kapell's last concert in Geelong, Chopin's Funeral March sonata, which Kapell performed a week before he died. In A Lasting Record, Stephen Downes pieces together the unlikely story of how Roy's recordings were reunited with the Kapell family by way of chance, coincidence and plain good fortune. A music enthusiast himself, Stephen writes with a journalist's keen eye for detail and a nose for a good story.
More than thirty years ago a green and unsophisticated Methodist boy from Oz had to be taught how to dress his salad correctly in a tiny Paris bistro, and felt the first stirring that he could 'perhaps nurture an interest in food'. Stephen Downes, now a renowned restaurant critic, returns to the city of lights and Michelin stars to test France's legendary reputation for fine dining. Is Paris still home to the 'great cathedrals' of restauration or — sacré bleu — is it a city of over-fussy, over-priced dinosaurs leftover from the days of haute cuisine? His exhaustive knowledge, dry humour and fervour for fine food make Stephen's diary a delicious, although sometimes unsavoury, read. You'll feel very keenly that you are experiencing an authentic Parisian treat.