History of Music
For those about to rock (and read), this addictive and distinctive book will reveal a whole host of trivia about guitar music.
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Ever since their amps arrived on the stage in 1962, Marshall has been one of the go-to manufacturers for the world's greatest bands and this book collects together thousands of facts and figures about bands ranging from The Ramones and Iron Maiden to today's top acts.
Very well researched and complemented by eye-catching illustrations, this is a must for any music lover. Among the things you'll be able to find out are the loudest band of all time, the bands responsible for the longest guitar solos and some of the most famous songs to have been banned from the airwaves.
One autumn evening, not long after ending a stint as a pop music critic, Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites - and fell deeply in love. So began a quest that would unravel three centuries of mystery, intrigue, history, politics, and passion. "The Cello Suites" is the story of that quest, and weaves together three dramatic narratives: the first features Bach and the missing manuscript of the suites; the next, the legendary Spanish Catalan cellist Pablo Casals and his historic discovery of the music; and finally, Eric Siblin's own infatuation. From the back streets of Barcelona to archives, festivals, and conferences, and even to cello lessons, Siblin attempts to unravel the enigmas that continue to haunt this mesmerisingly beautiful music.
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A century after his death, Gustav Mahler is the most important composer of modern times. Displacing Beethoven as a box-office draw, heard in Hollywood films and on state occasions, his music inspires particular devotion. Some believe it helps heal emotional wounds, others find intellectual fascination in its contradictory meanings, and many feel that the music captures the yearnings and anxieties of our post-industrial society. In this highly original account of the composer's life and work, Norman Lebrecht explores the Mahler Effect, asking why Mahler's music has become the soundtrack to our twenty-first-century lives.
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Jon Paxman's ambitious book interprets four centuries of Western classical music by considering its evolution from two different perspectives.Each of the eight chapters covers a 50 year period, tracing stylistic progressions with particular reference to musical genres and geographical locations. A corresponding Chronology explores the lives of individual composers, patrons, publishers, impresarios, conductors and performers, so providing a cultural and social framework that helps put each musical development into a broader historical context. Monumental in scope but lucid in style, this book will prove invaluable to anyone - student or enthusiast - who wants to comprehend the overwhelmingly rich and sometimes complex evolution of Western classical music. With contributions by Terry Barfoot, Katy Hamilton, Thomas Lydon and Robert Rawson.
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Published in the run-up to the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth in 2013, and written by one of the most distinguished Wagner scholars in the world, this will be the Wagner book of the bicentenary. Richard Wagner (18131883) is one of the most influential and also one of the most polarizing composers in the history of music. Over the course of his long career, he produced a stream of spellbinding works that challenged musical convention through their richness and tonal experimentation, ultimately paving the way for modernism. This book presents an in-depth but easy-to-read overview of Wagners life, work and times. Making use of the very latest scholarship much of it undertaken by the author himself in connection with his editorship of The Wagner Journal Millington reassesses received notions about Wagner and his work, demolishing ill-informed opinion in favour of proper critical understanding It is a radical and occasionally controversial reappraisal of this most perplexing of composers. The book considers a whole range of themes, including the composer's original sources of inspiration; his fetish for exotic silks; his relationship with his wife, Cosima, and with his mistress, Mathilde Wesendonck; his anti-semitism; the operas proto-cinematic nature; and the turbulent legacy both of the Bayreuth Festival and of Wagnerism itself. The volumes arrangement unique among books on the composer combines an accessible text, intriguing images and original documents in carefully co-ordinated sections, thus ensuring a consistently fresh approach.
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The music of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods have been repeatedly discarded and rediscovered ever since they were new. An interest in music of the past has been characteristic of a part of the musical world since the early 19th century. The revival of Gregorian chant in the early 19th century; the "Cecilian movement" in later 19th-century Germany seeking to immortalize Palestrina's music as a sound-ideal; Mendelssohn's revival of Bach: these are some of the efforts made in the past to restore still earlier music. In recent years this interest has taken on particular meaning, representing two specific trends: first, a rediscovery of little-known underappreciated repertories, and second, an effort to recover lost performing styles, with the conviction that such music will come to life anew with the right performance. Much has been gained in the 20th century from the study and revival of instruments, playing techniques, and repertories. In this VSI, Thomas Forrest Kelly frames chapters on the forms, techniques, and repertories practices of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods with discussion of why old music has been and should be revived, as well as a short history of early music revivals.
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Published in its first edition in 1983, Boyd's treatment of this canonical composer is essential reading for students, scholars, and everyone interested in Baroque music. In this third edition, biographical chapters alternate with commentary on the works, to demonstrate how the circumstances of Bach's life helped to shape the music he wrote at various periods. We follow Bach as he travels from Arnstadt and Muhlhausen to Weimar, Cothen, and finally Leipzig, these journeys alternating with insightful discussions of the great composer's organ and orchestral compositions. As well as presenting a rounded picture of Bach, his music, and his posthumous reputation and influence, Malcolm Boyd considers the sometimes controversial topics of "parody" and arrangement, number symbolism, and the style and meaning of Bach's late works. Recent theories on the constitution of Bach's performing forces at Leipzig are also present. The text and the appendixes (which include a chronology, personalia, bibliography, and a complete catalogue of Bach's works) were thoroughly revised in this edition to take account of more recent research undertaken by Bach scholars, including the gold mine of new information uncovered in the former USSR.
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When Donna Leon, the acclaimed author of the best-selling "Commissario Guido Brunetti series", is not conjuring up tales of crime and corruption in Venice, she is listening to opera. Over the years, Leon has noticed that her favourite composer, George Frideric Handel, filled his operas with arias that make reference to animals; rich in symbolism, the perceived virtues and vices of the lion, bee, nightingale, snake, elephant, and tiger, among others, resonate in his works. In "Handel's Bestiary", Leon draws on her love of Handel and her expertise in medieval bestiaries - illustrated collections of animal stories - to assemble a bestiary of her own. Twelve chapters trace twelve animals through history, mythology, and the arias. Each is joined by whimsical original illustrations by German painter Michael Sowa. The accompanying CD includes each aria, expertly recorded by Il Complesso Barocco with Alan Curtis conducting. Fascinating and utterly original, Handel's Bestiary springs to life with Leon's knowledge and wit.
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A unique look at the history, adventures, myths and realities of this most legendary and powerful of bands, it is a labour of love based on hours of first-hand and original interviews. What emerges is a compelling portrait of the four musicians themselves, as well as a fresh insight into the close-knit entourage that protected them, from Peter Grant to Richard Cole to Ahmet Ertegun, giant figures from the long-vanished world of 1970s rock. Featuring many rare and never before seen photographs, it is also the first book on Led Zeppelin to cover such recent events as their triumphant 2007 - O2 Arena gig and Robert Plant's Grammy-winning resurgence of recent years.
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A heartfelt and subtly beautiful tribute to the dead of the First World War, Vaughan Williams' Third Symphony is amongst his most powerful works. Misunderstood at its premiere in 1922, the haunting 35-minute elegy is almost entirely quiet and contemplative, though beneath its tranquillity lays a deep sadness. In the second movement a lone trumpet calls over a bleak and desolate landscape whilst the fourth and final movement is framed by a wordless lament for solo soprano. Faber Music publishes this long-awaited hardback critical edition.
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In 1934, Igor Stravinsky was fifty-two, a Russian expatriate living in Paris and already regarded by many as the most important composer of his generation. Stravinsky: The Second Exile follows him through the remainder of his long life, which he would spend largely in the United States. These are the years during which he would compose such masterworks as The Rake's Progress and Symphony in C, and achieve a new level of fame as a conductor and concert pianist in his own right. In this second and final volume of Stephen Walsh's acclaimed biography, the author traces and illuminates Stravinsky's increasingly complex and often agonised family life and his crucially important relationship with his associate Robert Craft. As a musicologist and critic, Walsh is able to speak with authority and wit not only about Stravinsky's life, but also about his work, expertly following the composer's musical journey from the neoclassicism of his late French and early American periods, through his early essays in serial technique, and on finally to the astonishing complexities of this protean genius's final works. Based on exhaustive research, Stephen Walsh uncovers new and controversial material, making this the second volume of the most definitive biography of the most significant and influential composer of the twentieth century.
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The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices.
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The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life is well known. Austrian-born to a tyrannical father who worked him --fiercely; unhappily married to a spendthrift woman; a child-like character ill at ease amid the aristocratic splendour of the Viennese court; a musical genius who died young thus depriving the world of future glories.; Yet only that last point is really true. In this comprehensive biography, John Suchet examines the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the world's best-loved composer. From his early days as a child prodigy performing for the imperial royal family in Vienna to the last months of his short life, driven to exhaustion by a punitive workload, one thing remained constant: his happy disposition.; Through trials and tribulations, grand successes and disheartening setbacks, Suchet shows us the real Mozart - blessed with an abundance of talent yet sometimes struggling to earn a living. His mischievous nature and earthy sense of humour, his ease and confidence in his own incredible abilities; these were traits that never left him. His music has brought comfort to countless generations; his life, though brief, is no less fascinating.
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Jan Swafford's biographies of composers Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms have established him as a revered music historian, capable of bringing his subjects vibrantly to life. His magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world's most iconic music. Swafford mines sources never before used in English-language biographies to reanimate the revolutionary ferment of Enlightenment-era Bonn, where Beethoven grew up and imbibed the ideas that would shape all of his future work. Swafford then tracks his subject to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and 'fate's hammer', his ever-encroaching deafness. At the time of his death he was so widely celebrated that over ten thousand people attended his funeral. This book is a biography of Beethoven the man and musician, not the myth, and throughout, Swafford - himself a composer - offers insightful readings of Beethoven's key works. More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.
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Claude Debussy was that rare creature, a composer who reinvented the language of music without alienating the majority of music lovers. He is the modernist everyone loves. How did he manage this? Was it through the association of his music with visual images, or was it simply that, by throwing out the rule book of the Paris Conservatoire where he studied, his music put beauty of sound above the spiritual ambitions of the German tradition from which those rules derived. Stephen Walsh's thought-provoking biography, told partly through the events of Debussy's life, and partly through a critical discussion of his music, addresses these and other questions about one of the most influential composers of the early twentieth century.
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Franz Schubert's Winterreise is at the same time one of the most powerful and one of the most enigmatic masterpieces in Western culture. In his new book, Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession, Ian Bostridge - one of the work's finest interpreters - focusses on the context, resonance and personal significance of a work which is possibly the greatest landmark in the history of Lieder. Drawing equally on his vast experience of performing this work (he has performed it more than a hundred times), on his musical knowledge and on his training as a scholar, Bostridge unpicks the enigmas and subtle meaning of each of the twenty-four songs to explore for us the world Schubert inhabited, bringing the work and its world alive for connoisseurs and new listeners alike. Originally intended to be sung to an intimate gathering, performances of Winterreise now pack the greatest concert halls around the world. Though not strictly a biography of Schubert, Schubert's Winter Journey succeeds in offering an unparalleled insight into the mind and work of the great composer. "Usually great singers cannot explain what they do. Ian Bostridge can. Whether or not you know Schubert's 'Winter Journey', the book is gripping because it explains, in probing, simple words, how a doomed love is transformed into art." (Richard Sennett).
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In 1805, the world of music was set on its ears by a new work from a German composer. Intellectually and emotionally, Beethoven's Third Symphony, the 'Eroica', was revolutionary music. After those first two stunning chords, Western music was never the same again. And the whiff of actual political revolution was woven into the work, for it was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, a dangerous hero for a composer dependent on conservative royal patronage. James Hamilton-Paterson reconstructs this great moment in Western culture, the shock of the music and the symphony's long afterlife. The Landmark Library is a testament to the achievements of mankind from the late stone age to the present day. Each volume is handsomely illustrated and carries a text of 25,000 words devoted to a crucial theme in the history of civilization.
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Simon Callow plunges headlong into Wagner's world to discover what it was like to be Wagner, and to be around one of music's most influential figures. A hundred and thirty-five years after his death, Richard Wagner's music dramas stand at the centre of the culture of classical music. They have never been more popular, nor so violently controversial and divisive. His music is still banned in Israel - the only classical composer whose music is banned in the western world. His ten great mature masterpieces constitute an unmatched body of work, created against a backdrop of poverty, revolution, violent controversy, critical contempt and hysterical hero-worship. As a man, he was a walking contradiction, aggressive, flirtatious, disciplined, capricious, heroic, visionary and poisonously anti-Semitic. At one point, he had four lengthy operas written with no hope of being performed when, as if in a fairy-tale, he was rescued by a beautiful young king with limitless wealth which he bestowed on the composer. When one of those works, Tristan and Isolde, was at last performed, it revolutionised classical music at a stroke. Finally he fulfilled his lifelong dream of creating a vast epic to rival the work of the great Greek playwrights, a music drama in four massive segments, ushering gods and dwarves, heroes and thugs, dragons and rainbows onto the stage, the apotheosis of German art as he saw it, so extreme in its demands that he had to train a generation of singers and players to perform it, and erect a custom-built theatre to house it. Wagner died, exhausted, after creating one final piece - Parsifal - that seems to point to an even more radical new future for music. Simon Callow recalls the intellectual and artistic climate in which Wagner worked, recording the almost superhuman effort required to create his work, and evoking the extraordinary effect he had on people - this composer like no other who ever lived, extreme in everything, creator of the most sublime and most troubling body of work ever known.
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Robert Schumann was far ahead of his time, not least in his attitude to children and young people; his 'Advice for Young Musicians', originally created to accompany his famous 'Album for the Young', remains as relevant today as when it was written. Celebrated cellist Steven Isserlis adds his own extensive commentary to Schumann's words of wisdom. The advice is by turns practical, humorous, and profound, making this volume a must for all aspiring musicians of all ages and standards.
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The long-awaited memoir by 'the most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers' (New York Times). Rapturous in its ability to depict the creative process, Words Without Music allows readers to experience that sublime moment of creative fusion when life merges with art. Biography lovers will be inspired by the story of a precocious Baltimore boy, the son of a music-shop owner, who entered college at age fifteen, before traveling to Paris to study under the legendary Nadia Boulanger; Glass devotees will be fascinated by the stories behind Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, among so many other works. Whether recalling his experiences working at Bethlehem Steel, traveling in India, driving a cab in 1970s New York, or his professional collaborations with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Robert Wilson, Doris Lessing, and Martin Scorsese, Words Without Music affirms the power of music to change the world. Martin Scorsese on Words Without Music: 'I came to Philip Glass' music very simply, without any critical prodding or guidance. I listened and I was transfixed. The music was dynamic and colorful and mysterious all at once, and it put me in mind of the Zen exercise of sitting before a blank wall and contemplating the question, "What is this?" It's music that seems to go beyond music. It doesn't just stay with you, it infuses and energizes and haunts you, and carries a sense of being alive, a perception of existence itself, the rhythm of living this life. Philip's music has come to mean more and more to me as the years have gone by. I was excited to work with Philip on Kundun, and he exceeded my wildest expectations by giving us a score that was genuinely transcendent. He's exceeded my expectations again with this rich and beautifully written memoir. Who knew that he was as good a writer as he is a composer?'
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'Sometimes I liken the creative act to that of being a good gardener. The musical material itself, the harmonies, rhythms, the timbres and tempi, are seeds you have planted. Composing, bringing forth the final formal arrangement of these elements, is often a business of watching them grow, knowing when to nourish and water them and when to prune and weed.' A book unlike anything ever written by a composer, part memoir and part description of the creative process, Hallelujah Junction is an absorbing journey through the musical landscape of John Adams, one of today's most admired and frequently performed composers. A musician of enormous range and technical command, Adams has built a huge audience worldwide through the immediacy and sincerity of his music, such as his Pulitzer prize-winning memorial for the September 11 attack On The Transmigration of Souls. Hallelujah Junction isn't so much an autobiography as a fascinating journey through the musical landscape of his life and times, centred around the three highly controversial operas based on social and political issues he has written in the past twenty-five years - Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer and, most recently, Dr Atomic.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream was Benjamin Britten's seventh major opera and had its premiere in 1960. Britten and his partner Peter Pears adapted Shakespeare's much-loved comedy, using (with the exception of only one line) Shakespeare's own text, as well as cutting and simplifying the play. This newly commissioned opera guide has an essay which explores the unique process of the opera's composition, including passages of recently published material from Britten's own correspondence. Other essays examine the magical sound world that Britten created for this work, as well as documenting Britten's own response to productions of the opera during his lifetime. A further essay assesses the place of the work in relation to the rest of Britten's oeuvre.
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John Cage's contribution to twentieth-century music, literature and art not only established his place as a leading figure in the post-war avant-garde, but also guaranteed his enduring controversy. His emphasis on chance, as opposed to intention, rejected traditional artistic methods and caused uproar amongst his peers. The shock provoked by pieces such as 4'33" still reverberates today, as Cage's radical approach to art and aesthetics continues to challenge and inspire artists worldwide. In his new biography Rob Haskins considers John Cage's life, art, ideas and work, evaluating the twin pillars of Cage's creative output and the ideas that lie behind it. Demystifying the artist's use of chance, and his relationship to Zen Buddhism, the book explores Cage's belief that everyday life and art are one and the same. John Cage will appeal to musicians and artists, as well as general readers interested in the art, music and ideas of the twentieth century.
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George Dyson (1883-1964) was a highly influential composer, educator and administrator, whose work touched the lives of millions. Yet today, apart from his Canterbury Pilgrims and two sets of canticles for Choral Evensong, his music is little known. In this comprehensive and detailed study, based not only on Dyson's own writings but on unpublished papers, personal correspondence, and interviews with his family and friends, Paul Spicer brings this remarkable man and his lyrical, passionate and engaging music to life once more. Born into a working class family in Halifax, West Yorkshire, he rose from humble beginnings to become the voice of public school music in Britain and Director of the RCM. As a scholarship student, he met and studied with some of the leading musicians of the day, including Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and Sir Hubert Parry. He went on to work in some of the country's greatest schools, where he established his reputation as a composer, particularly of choral and orchestral works, of which Quo Vadis was his most ambitious. A member of the BBC Brains Trust panel, Dyson was also the 'voice of music' on the radio for a number of years and helped to educate the nation through his regular broadcasts. A fascinating, controversial man, George Dyson touched almost every sphere of musical life in Britain and helped to change the face of music performance and education in this country. This seminal book, examining every aspect of his long, colourful career, re-establishes him as the towering figure he undoubtedly was in his time. PAUL SPICER was a composition student of Herbert Howells, whose biography he wrote in 1998. He is well-known as a choral conductor especially of British Music of the twentieth century onwards, a writer, composer, teacher, and producer.
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