Hot Best Seller

As Music and Splendour

Availability: Ready to download

Set in the 1880s and '90s, As Music and Splendour tells the story of two young Irish girls who are sent to Rome for training as opera singers. Rose red-haired, big-hearted and big-voiced is soon on track to become a prima donna soprano; Clare, also a soprano but subtler and less glamorous, is more at home with sacred music. While Rose juggles the affections of various men, Set in the 1880s and '90s, As Music and Splendour tells the story of two young Irish girls who are sent to Rome for training as opera singers. Rose red-haired, big-hearted and big-voiced is soon on track to become a prima donna soprano; Clare, also a soprano but subtler and less glamorous, is more at home with sacred music. While Rose juggles the affections of various men, Clare embarks on a passionate affair with her fellow-student Luisa. As Music in Splendour is a thrillingly readable and romantic novel from one of the very few truly important Irish novelists of the twentieth century.


Compare

Set in the 1880s and '90s, As Music and Splendour tells the story of two young Irish girls who are sent to Rome for training as opera singers. Rose red-haired, big-hearted and big-voiced is soon on track to become a prima donna soprano; Clare, also a soprano but subtler and less glamorous, is more at home with sacred music. While Rose juggles the affections of various men, Set in the 1880s and '90s, As Music and Splendour tells the story of two young Irish girls who are sent to Rome for training as opera singers. Rose red-haired, big-hearted and big-voiced is soon on track to become a prima donna soprano; Clare, also a soprano but subtler and less glamorous, is more at home with sacred music. While Rose juggles the affections of various men, Clare embarks on a passionate affair with her fellow-student Luisa. As Music in Splendour is a thrillingly readable and romantic novel from one of the very few truly important Irish novelists of the twentieth century.

30 review for As Music and Splendour

  1. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    This is a lovely 1958 historical novel about two Irish girls training as singers in late 19th-century France and Italy. It definitely hit my weak spot for novels about musical training and careers, and it was beautifully written and detailed. I especially liked the matter-of-fact acceptance of the heroines' deep friendship and of their sexuality: one has more than one lover, the other is a lesbian, and the narrative simply accepts both things without making a big fuss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tocotin

    My second book by Kate O’Brien. I have mixed feelings about it. I’d been very excited to read it, but didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. It can’t have been the subject matter – I was much more interested and invested in That Lady, which is set among the aristocracy of Renaissance Spain, than in the lives of the 19th century opera singers. I was also fully prepared to love the lesbian love story, and frankly, I had to squint to find it. It was small, almost insignificant, and half of it was My second book by Kate O’Brien. I have mixed feelings about it. I’d been very excited to read it, but didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. It can’t have been the subject matter – I was much more interested and invested in That Lady, which is set among the aristocracy of Renaissance Spain, than in the lives of the 19th century opera singers. I was also fully prepared to love the lesbian love story, and frankly, I had to squint to find it. It was small, almost insignificant, and half of it was hidden; I’ll go further than this and say that it was more of a love triangle, and more was revealed about Diego (was that his name?) than about Louisa. Who was she? What kind of person was she? She was a cipher, without a personal history, without roots of any kind. This might be the first deeply Catholic book I’ve ever read, where the characters are peaceful and not in much conflict with themselves or the world. (That Lady had some of it, but the focus was on different things, and so Catholicism in it was not so important, I felt.) Both Clare and Rose are religious and see everything through their religion’s lens. I don’t know if it it is soothing, or rather disconcerting, though, to see that they seem to be absolutely convinced that everything they do is more or less acceptable, that they are right to do what they do, that God would understand their unique circumstances… I don’t know if it’s the sign of the deep spiritual peace they somewhat achieved and never lost, or of hypocrisy. Don’t take me wrong, I didn’t want to see them writhe in doubt and pain, I wanted to see that their faith was of a consequence to them. There was a beautiful scene between Rose and Antonio, when she heard that he was going to marry – I would have liked to see more of that. Kate O’Brien loves Ireland and Spain (both Catholic countries) and it shows. Ireland and Spain are good, honest, earnest, grave, and of great value. Italy, though also Catholic, is clearly too frivolous; as for France – the girls run away from France! Another character I deeply cared about was Assunta. I wanted to know more of her and felt that she got a very bad deal. But hey, she was a servant, so who cares. The writing is ponderous and meandering at moments, but engaging. I will read The Land of Spices next, I think.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    With charm,intelligence and wit,the droll and omniscient narrator traces the unusual destinies of two poor young Irish sopranos,plucked from their impoverished life in obscure Irish villages,to train for the diva life. With a host of walk on characters and a nonchalant treatment of gender issues,this book reinforced my admiration for the absolute dedication of the passionate artist and gave a refreshing emphasis to the necessity of discipline in achieving a dream.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aldi

    Objectively beautiful but didn't really click with me emotionally, and I struggled some with the style (hence the abominably long time it took me to finish!). At the risk of sounding like a total philistine, though, I'd love to see a screen adaptation of this, it would be gorgeous.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    The angst and beauty of this story combined with the opera and the lyrical writing made me very happy to stumble on it entirely by accident. A must read for lovers of opera.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pipkia

    IT was a rather lovely book, which I liked increasingly throughout, and my reading of which was interspersed with very short and intense patches of sheer perfection. I didn’t quite love it, but I think I need I to read some more of her work before I can fully pass judgment upon it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Sutton

    one of Kate OBriens later works, and it is the most open of her novels about lesbian sexuality. Her 2 characters are quite frank about their feelings for women as well as for men. But I've always found the book a bit rambling and hard to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Finally......seemed to be a fairly good story, but boy, did it drag out, wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless they were into opera.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie Henigan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  12. 5 out of 5

    B. Hallward

  13. 5 out of 5

    Orla

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maria Power

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Baddeley

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine O'Brien

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Donovan Byrne

  19. 4 out of 5

    Silvia Re

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt Reznicek

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beata

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sive

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fern

  27. 5 out of 5

    Naoise Murphy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Waldron

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bronagh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fiona O'dea

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.