Richard Rodgers

Geoffrey Block

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A lively book that examines—for the first time—the full range of music by one of America’s most celebrated composers

Richard Rodgers was an icon of the musical theater, a prolific composer whose career spanned six decades and who wrote more than a thousand songs and forty shows for the American stage. In this absorbing book, Geoffrey Block examines Rodgers’s entire career, providing rich details about the creation, staging, and critical reception of some of his most popular musicals. Block traces Rodgers’s musical education, early work, and the development of his musical and dramatic language. He focuses on two shows by Rodgers and Hart (A Connecticut Yankee and The Boys from Syracuse) and two by Rodgers and Hammerstein (South Pacific and Cinderella), offering new insights into each one. He concludes with the first serious look at the five neglected and often maligned musicals that Rodgers composed in the 1960s and 1970s, after the death of Hammerstein.

Geoffrey Block is editor of the Richard Rodgers Reader and author of Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from “Show Boat” to Sondheim. Professor of music at the University of Puget Sound, he is also coeditor of Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition, published by Yale University Press.

“Geoffrey Block’s book is perceptive, stimulating, sometimes provocative, and always interesting. By setting out to examine Rodgers’s work rather than his somewhat dismal life, the author not only concentrates upon what is important about Rodgers but offers example after example of the composer’s methods, enabling even the most musically unsophisticated reader to appreciate the subtleties of his work.”—Frederick Nolan, author of Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway

“This book is one for aficionados. . . . Very detailed, very exhausted.”—Financial Times

Richard Rodgers by Geoffrey Block deftly examines musicals that Rodgers composed with either Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein II writing the lyrics. . . . One of the best books yet written about the great artistry of the composer.”—Louis Botto, Playbill

“Meticulously researched [with] many fascinating nuggets.”—Sunday Daily News

“Block writes in such a way that the broadly interested as well as the aficionado may appreciate the analysis.”—Dianne Dempsey, The Age (Australia)

"This book is an important addition to the extensive but primarily biographical literature on Rodgers. . . . Block brings musical analysis, archival research, and reception history to the study of Richard Rodgers. . . . Block's book will inspire further critical scholarship on Richard Rodgers's remarkable career and contribution to musical theater."—James Leve, American Music
ISBN: 9780300217605
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
336 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
30 b/w + 18 color illus. + 24 musical examples
Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition

Edited by Geoffrey Block and J. Peter Burkholder

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