The Critical Shaw: On Music
“Without music we shall surely perish of drink, morphia, and all sorts of artificial exaggerations of the cruder delights of the senses.” —Bernard Shaw, 1894
Critical Shaw: Music is a comprehensive selection of renowned Irish playwright and Nobel Laureate Bernard Shaw’s extensive writings on a wide range of musical topics. Still recognized as one of Great Britain’s most important music critics, Shaw enriched London’s musical scene for some twenty years with his provocative, original, and penetrating reviews, before giving up music criticism to concentrate his talents on playwriting. His vast critical output encompassed opera, operetta, vocal and orchestral performance, musical theater, and oratorios, and took in major composers and performers as well as many long since forgotten names. Frequently embellished by his controversial political and social opinions, and delving as well into the nature of music criticism itself, Shaw’s reviews continue to stimulate and surprise, their depth and range setting standards that are rarely, if ever, matched today. Included in this edition is a previously unpublished draft on voice training prepared by Shaw for Vandeleur Lee, his mother’s singing teacher.
The Critical Shaw series brings together, in five volumes and from a wide range of sources, selections from Bernard Shaw’s voluminous writings on topics that exercised him for the whole of his professional career: Literature, Music, Politics, Religion, and Theater. The volumes are edited by leading Shaw scholars, and all include an introduction, a chronology of Shaw’s life and works, annotated texts, and a bibliography. The series editor is L.W. Conolly, literary adviser to the Shaw Estate and former president of the International Shaw Society.