CHARLES T. GRIFFES by Edward Maisel


Email this review


A first -- and needed -- biography of a modern American composer, whose critical prestige is perhaps greater than his popularity. Born in Elmira, New York, Griffes was first encouraged to make music his career by his first teacher who sent him to Berlin for advanced study. At this time he became cognizant of his greatest problem and torment, his homosexuality, which he faced honestly and watched vigilantly in all future relationships. Several years of study -- one a biding friendship -- return to America where he received a teaching post in a boys' school. The influences in his life, patrons, compositions, performances, criticisms, combine to trace the musician's career to its height with White Peacock, The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan and more difficult sonatas. Then his death at 36, when for the first time he received recognition from leading critics and conductors. A just, authenticated biography with sound appraisal of the man and the place of his work in American music.

Publisher: Knopf