A novel approach
Books by composers It was really during the Romantic era that words and music became more closely intertwined and that composers started to dabble with writing books. Schumann penned criticism and Wagner wrote his librettos, but it was Liszt who wrote a biography, of his fellow pianist-composer Frédéric Chopin. Meanwhile Berlioz, who adored Shakespeare, wrote the unusual Evenings with Orchestra, short stories mingled with sketches and reviews as he imagines the chatter of a Parisian orchestra. Beetween 1919 and 1940, Smyth turned her back on music and wrote ten works of non-fiction. Virgina Woolf, no less, urged her on, writing ‘I was thinking the other night that there’s never been a woman’s autobiography… now why shouldn’t you be the first to tell the truths about herself?’
Fast forward to 2017, and Stephen Hough became a published novelist as well as a pianist and composer. His no-holds-barred The Final Retreat, was given five stars by our critic Claire Jackson. And composer Kerry Andrew joined the debut novelist ranks when her novel Swansong came out earlier this year.