Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Four Last SongsAging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226255590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226255620.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 June 2020

Creative Responses to the Challenges of Aging

Creative Responses to the Challenges of Aging

(p.11) Chapter Two Creative Responses to the Challenges of Aging
Four Last Songs

Linda Hutcheon

Michael Hutcheon

University of Chicago Press

This chapter uses as an illustration the late life and last works of a seemingly unlikely candidate for inclusion in a study of canonical composers: Jacques Offenbach (1818–1880), the master of the satirical French operetta form. In his last years, he sought to complete the work he wanted to be his serious legacy, the opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Through the many difficulties he encountered in doing so, his story introduces the kinds of the challenges faced by the four core composers of this study: aesthetic/generational (Verdi), political (Strauss), ambition/expectations (Messiaen), health/impairment (Britten). The critical reception of last works, both in general and in particular, is examined in the context of the long history of “late style” discourse, with its contrasting evaluative models of old age decline and apotheosis. With the rise of musical modernism and cultural modernity—and their aesthetic of progress and innovation—came an expectation of change and experiment that brought yet other artistic challenges.

Keywords:   Jacques Offenbach, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, late style, modernism, progress, opera

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.