MAY 2011

New publication: Bohuslav Martinu, The Compulsion to Compose

F. James Rybka knew Martinu who was a very close friend of his father. The biography is enriched by a trove of Martinu’s letters and revealing anecdotes of persons who knew him. Beyond covering Martinu’s life and works, Rybka, who is a physician, has assembled compelling evidence that the composer had Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism, the first composer ever to be so documented. Although this caused him to fit into society with difficulty, it also governed him to become a prolific and exacting composer blessed with absolute pitch, an extraordinary memory and savant-like skills to process music in his brain. After he died, however, his great output was held against him by some musicologists who, unable to explain how he could compose so much and so fast, cited him as “flawed.” In the book, Martinu’s Asperger syndrome is shown to provide a neuroscientific explanation for this. Besides correcting and reigniting Martinu’s reputation, the book should capture the interest of both music and autism scholars.

$85.00 USD •  Cloth • 0-8108-7761-9 | 978-0-8108-7761-0 • May 2011 • 444 pp
$85.00  Electronic • 0-8108-7762-7 | 978-0-8108-7762-7 • May 2011 • 444 pp
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