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Our books on classical music cover the history of this influential style of music and the composers who have made such a cultural impact.

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Classical Music Books

Our books on classical music cover the history of this influential style of music and the composers who have made such a cultural impact.

  • My Dearest Father

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Product Code: AZTQN
    Paperback
    'They wanted me to give a concert; I wanted them to beg me. And so they did. I gave a concert.' A selection of personal correspondence between Mozart and his most important mentor and supporter, his father. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Mozart's work available in Penguin Classics is Mozart: A Life In Letters.
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  • Classical Music Encyclopedia

    Stanley Sadie

    Product Code: ALTEU
    Hardback 14 years +
    The Classical Music Encylopedia, now fully updated, traces the development of Western music from medieval times through to the twenty-first century. Each chapter begins with an Introduction to the era, followed by an A to Z of the key composers and musicians of the era, with an expert's recommended recording for each entry. Within these, the musical greats - from Mozart to Stravinksy - have more extensive entries. The Styles and Forms sections discuss the many different styles of music, from the earliest notation to the minimalism of the twentieth century, while the development of each era's Instruments is also extensively investigated. Written by many of the world's leading experts in the field, this invaluable encyclopedia is comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly informative - an essential guide for readers of all levels.
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  • Korngold and His World

    Daniel Goldmark

    Product Code: BZGJP
    Paperback
    A brand-new look at the life and music of renowned composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was the last compositional prodigy to emerge from the Austro-German tradition of Mozart and Mendelssohn. He was lauded in his youth by everyone from Mahler to Puccini and his auspicious career in the early 1900s spanned chamber music, opera, and musical theater. Today, he is best known for his Hollywood film scores, composed between 1935 and 1947. From his prewar operas in Vienna to his pathbreaking contributions to American film, Korngold and His World provides a substantial reassessment of Korngold's life and accomplishments. Korngold struggled to reconcile the musical language of his Viennese upbringing with American popular song and cinema, and was forced to adapt to a new life after wartime emigration to Hollywood. This collection examines Korngold's operas and film scores, the critical reception of his music, and his place in the milieus of both the Old and New Worlds. The volume also features numerous historical documents-many previously unpublished and in first-ever English translations-including essays by the composer as well as memoirs by his wife, Luzi Korngold, and his father, the renowned music critic Julius Korngold. The contributors are Leon Botstein, David Brodbeck, Bryan Gilliam, Daniel Goldmark, Lily Hirsch, Kevin Karnes, Sherry Lee, Neil Lerner, Sadie Menicanin, Ben Winters, Amy Wlodarski, and Charles Youmans. Bard Music Festival 2019 Korngold and His World Bard College August 9-11 and 16-18, 2019
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  • Conversations with Rossini

    Ferdinand Hiller

    Product Code: BTDZX
    Hardback
    The conversations the 63-year-old Rossini had with Ferdinand Hiller in Trouville in Normandy in September 1855, and the finely drafted impression of Rossini himself with which Hiller prefaces the conversations, will be of exceptional interest to all music lovers. No other single source offers so vivid a sense of Rossini the man and the musician, not to mention the many composers, performers, and people of influence he knew and met. This is the first complete publication of the conversations in English.
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  • Schumann

    Judith Chernaik

    Product Code: BRHXR
    Hardback
    Schumann: The Faces and the Masks is a groundbreaking account of a major composer whose life and works have been the subject of intense controversy ever since his attempted suicide and early death in an insane asylum. Schumann was a key figure in the Romanticism which swept Europe and America in the 19th century, inspiring writers, musicians and painters, delighting their enthralled audiences, and reaching to the furthest corners of the world. All the contradictions of his age enter Schumann's works, from the fantastic disguises of his carnival masquerades and his passionate love songs to his great 'Spring' and 'Rhenish' Symphonies. He was intensely original and imaginative, but he also worshipped the past-especially Shakespeare and Byron, Raphael and Michelangelo, Beethoven and Bach. He believed in political, personal and artistic freedom but struggled with the constraints of artistic form. He turned his tumultuous life into music that speaks directly to the heart, losing none of its power with the passage of time. Drawing on hitherto unpublished archive material, Chernaik sheds new light on Schumann's life and music, his sexual escapades, his fathering of an illegitimate child, the true facts behind his courtship of his wife Clara and the opposition of her monstrous father, and the ways in which the crises of his life, his dreams and fantasies, entered his music. Schumann's troubled relations with his fellow-Romantic composers Mendelssohn and Chopin are freshly explored, and the full medical diary kept at Endenich Asylum, long withheld, enables Chernaik to solve the mystery of Schumann's final illness. Using her wide experience as a scholar of Romanticism and a novelist, Chernaik vividly brings Schumann's world and his extraordinary artistic achievement to life in all its rich complexity.
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  • Beethoven's Cello: Five Revolutionary Sonatas and Their World

    Marc D. Moskovitz

    Product Code: BKMBR
    Hardback
    In 1796 the young Beethoven presented his first two cello sonatas at the court of Frederick William II, an avid cellist and the reigning Prussian monarch. Released in print the next year, these revolutionary sonatas forever altered the cello repertoire by fundamentally redefining the relationship between the cello and the piano and promoting their parity. Beethoven continued to develop the potential of the duo partnership in his three other cello sonatas - the lyrical and heroic Op. 69 and the two experimental sonatas Op. 102, No. 1 and No. 2, transcendent compositions conceived on the threshold of the composer's late style. In Beethoven's Cello, Marc D. Moskovitz and R. Larry Todd examine these seminal cornerstones of the cello repertoire and place them within their historical and cultural context. Also addressed are the three variation sets and, in a series of interludes, the cellos owned by Beethoven, the changing nature of his pianos, the cello-centric 'Triple' Concerto and the arrangements for cello and piano of other works. Featuring a preface by renowned cellist Steven Isserlis and concluding with translated reviews of the composer's cello music published during his lifetime, Beethoven's Cello is the ideal companion for cellists, pianists, musicologists and chamber-music devotees desiring a comprehensive understanding of this beloved repertoire.BR> MARC D. MOSKOVITZ is principal cellist of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded the music of virtuoso cellists David Popper and Alfredo Piatti for the VAI label, and his American premiere of Zemlinsky's Cello Sonata was heralded by the Washington Post as 'an impassioned performance'. Moskovitz has contributed to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and his biography, Alexander Zemlinsky: A Lyric Symphony was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2010. Recognized as 'Mendelssohn's most authoritative biographer' (The New Yorker), R. LARRY TODD is Arts and Sciences Professor at Duke University. He is the author of Mendelssohn: A Life in Music, named Best Biography in 2003 by the Association of American Publishers, and Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, awarded the ASCAP Nicholas Slonimsky Award for outstanding biography in music. As a pianist, he has recorded with Nancy Green the complete cello works of Mendelssohn and Fanny Hensel for JRI Recordings.
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  • Moribund Music

    Carolyn Beckingham

    Product Code: BJHBR
    Paperback
    This book set out to answer frequently asked questions about the future of classical music. It addresses the question of whether popular music has taken its place and if so, how much this matters; and explores the origins of the split between classical and popular music, the rise of youth culture and the concept of elitism, together with the consequences of these changes. The phenomenon of 'crossover' music is addressed, and the arguments in favour of, and against, its use as an introduction to classical music for new audiences are put forward. In a wide-ranging discourse, the author tackles many of the issues that divide music lovers, including audience behaviour and the place of music in schools. A major focus is on the problems of opera: the accusation that it is inherently sexist, the question of original languages as opposed to translation, surtitles, amplification and production styles. This book is essential reading for all those interested in how music plays an essential and informative role in everyday life.
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  • Handel

    Jonathan Keates

    Product Code: BHYEB
    Paperback
    Jonathan Keates original biography of Handel was hailed as a masterpiece on its publication in 1985. This fully revised and updated new edition - published to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composers death - charts in detail Handel's life, from his youth in Germany, through his brilliantly successful Italian sojourn, to the opulence and squalor of Georgian London where he made his permanent home. For over two decades Handel was absorbed in London's heady but precarious operatic world. But even his phenomenal energy and determination could not overcome the public's growing indifference to Italian opera in the 1730s, and he turned finally to oratorio, a genre which he made peculiarly his own and in which he created some of his finest works, such as Saul, Messiah, Belshazzar and Jephtha. Over the last two decades a complete revolution in Handel's status has taken place. He is now seen both as a titanic figure in music, whose compositions have found a permanent place in the international repertoire, and as one of the world's favourite composers, with snatches of his work accompanying weddings, funerals and television commercials the world over. Skillfully interwoven with the account of Handel's life are commentaries on all his major works, as well as many less familiar pieces by this most inventive, expressive and captivating of composers. Handel was an extraordinary genius whose career abounded in reversals that would have crushed anyone with less resilience and will power, and Jonathan Keates writes about his life and work with sympathy and scrutiny.
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  • The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn

    Richard Wigmore

    Product Code: BHLDG
    Paperback
    Joseph Haydn is one of the greatest and most innovative of all composers, yet in some ways he is still curiously misunderstood. This engaging new "Pocket Guide" assesses what Haydn's music means to us today, and challenges some of the myths that have grown up around the composer. With suggestions for further reading and recommended CD recordings, Richard Wigmore's crisp and concise guide presents you with all you need to listen to and enjoy Haydn's music. It explores each of his key works, from his symphonies to his quartets, from his choral works to his sonatas, and invites a new generation of listeners to discover the depth and dazzling ingenuity of this most humane and life-affirming of composers.
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  • Chopin and His World

    Jonathan D. Bellman

    Product Code: BGTNY
    Paperback
    A new look at the life, times, and music of Polish composer and piano virtuoso Fryderyk Chopin Fryderyk Chopin (1810-49), although the most beloved of piano composers, remains a contradictory figure, an artist of virtually universal appeal who preferred the company of only a few sympathetic friends and listeners. Chopin and His World reexamines Chopin and his music in light of the cultural narratives formed during his lifetime. These include the romanticism of the ailing spirit, tragically singing its death-song as life ebbs; the Polish expatriate, helpless witness to the martyrdom of his beloved homeland, exiled among friendly but uncomprehending strangers; the sorcerer-bard of dream, memory, and Gothic terror; and the pianist's pianist, shunning the appreciative crowds yet composing and improvising idealized operas, scenes, dances, and narratives in the shadow of virtuoso-idol Franz Liszt. The international Chopin scholars gathered here demonstrate the ways in which Chopin responded to and was understood to exemplify these narratives, as an artist of his own time and one who transcended it. This collection also offers recently rediscovered artistic representations of his hands (with analysis), and--for the first time in English--an extended tribute to Chopin published in Poland upon his death and contemporary Polish writings contextualizing Chopin's compositional strategies. The contributors are Jonathan D. Bellman, Leon Botstein, Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, Halina Goldberg, Jeffrey Kallberg, David Kasunic, Anatole Leikin, Eric McKee, James Parakilas, John Rink, and Sandra P. Rosenblum. Contemporary documents by Karol Kurpi?ski, Adam Mickiewicz, and Jozef Sikorski are included.
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  • Franz Schubert and His World

    Christopher H. Gibbs

    Product Code: BBMSS
    Paperback
    During his short lifetime, Franz Schubert (1797-1828) contributed to a wide variety of musical genres, from intimate songs and dances to ambitious chamber pieces, symphonies, and operas. The essays and translated documents in Franz Schubert and His World examine his compositions and ties to the Viennese cultural context, revealing surprising and overlooked aspects of his music. Contributors explore Schubert's youthful participation in the Nonsense Society, his circle of friends, and changing views about the composer during his life and in the century after his death. New insights are offered about the connections between Schubert's music and the popular theater of the day, his strategies for circumventing censorship, the musical and narrative relationships linking his song settings of poems by Gotthard Ludwig Kosegarten, and musical tributes he composed to commemorate the death of Beethoven just twenty months before his own. The book also includes translations of excerpts from a literary journal produced by Schubert's classmates and of Franz Liszt's essay on the opera Alfonso und Estrella. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Leon Botstein, Lisa Feurzeig, John Gingerich, Kristina Muxfeldt, and Rita Steblin.
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  • Arnold Schoenberg's a Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe

    Joy H. Calico

    Product Code: BBHKX
    Hardback
    Joy H. Calico examines the cultural history of postwar Europe through the lens of the performance and reception of Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw--a short but powerful work, she argues, capable of irritating every exposed nerve in postwar Europe. A twelve-tone piece in three languages about the Holocaust, it was written for an American audience by a Jewish composer whose oeuvre had been one of the Nazis' prime exemplars of entartete (degenerate) music. Both admired and reviled as a pioneer of dodecaphony, Schoenberg had immigrated to the United States and become an American citizen. This book investigates the meanings attached to the work as it circulated through Europe during the early Cold War in a kind of symbolic musical remigration, focusing on six case studies: West Germany, Austria, Norway, East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Each case is unique, informed by individual geopolitical concerns, but this analysis also reveals common themes in anxieties about musical modernism, Holocaust memory and culpability, the coexistence of Jews and former Nazis, anti-Semitism, dislocation, and the presence of occupying forces on both sides of the Cold War divide.
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  • The Other Classical Musics

    Michael Church

    Product Code: BALZM
    Hardback
    Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Creative Communication 2015 There is a treasure trove of underappreciated music out there; this book will convince many to explore it. The Economist What is classical music? This book answers the question in a manner never before attempted, by presenting the history of fifteen parallel traditions, of which Western classical music is just one. Each music is analysed in terms of its modes, scales, and theory; its instruments, forms, and aesthetic goals; its historical development, golden age, and condition today; and the conventions governing its performance. The writers are leading ethnomusicologists, and their approach is based on the belief that music is best understood in the context of the culture which gave rise to it. By including Mande and Uzbek-Tajik music - plus North American jazz - in addition to the better-known styles of the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, the Far East, and South-East Asia, this book offers challenging new perspectives on the word 'classical'. It shows the extent to which most classical traditions are underpinned by improvisation, and reveals the cognate origins of seemingly unrelated musics; it reflects the multifarious ways in which colonialism, migration, and new technology have affected musical development, and continue to do today. With specialist language kept to a minimum, it's designed to help both students and general readers to appreciate musical traditions which may be unfamiliar to them, and to encounter the reality which lies behind that lazy adjective 'exotic'. MICHAEL CHURCH has spent much of his career in newspapers as a literary and arts editor; since 2010 he has been the music and opera critic of The Independent/I>. From 1992 to 2005 he reported on traditional musics all over the world for the BBC World Service; in 2004, Topic Records released a CD of his Kazakh field recordings and, in 2007, two further CDs of his recordings in Georgia and Chechnya. Contributors: Michael Church, Scott DeVeaux, Ivan Hewett, David W. Hughes, Jonathan Katz, Roderic Knight, Frank Kouwenhoven, Robert Labaree, Scott Marcus, Terry E. Miller, Dwight F. Reynolds, Neil Sorrell, Will Sumits, Richard Widdess, Ameneh Youssefzadeh
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  • Beethoven

    Jan Swafford

    Product Code: BALKE
    Paperback
    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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  • Music as Thought

    Mark Evan Bonds

    Product Code: BAJLD
    Paperback
    Before the nineteenth century, instrumental music was considered inferior to vocal music. Kant described wordless music as "more pleasure than culture," and Rousseau dismissed it for its inability to convey concepts. But by the early 1800s, a dramatic shift was under way. Purely instrumental music was now being hailed as a means to knowledge and embraced precisely because of its independence from the limits of language. What had once been perceived as entertainment was heard increasingly as a vehicle of thought. Listening had become a way of knowing. Music as Thought traces the roots of this fundamental shift in attitudes toward listening in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focusing on responses to the symphony in the age of Beethoven, Mark Evan Bonds draws on contemporary accounts and a range of sources--philosophical, literary, political, and musical--to reveal how this music was experienced by those who heard it first. Music as Thought is a fascinating reinterpretation of the causes and effects of a revolution in listening.
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  • My Dearest Father

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Product Code: AZVCU
    Paperback
    'They wanted me to give a concert; I wanted them to beg me. And so they did. I gave a concert.' A selection of personal correspondence between Mozart and his most important mentor and supporter, his father. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Mozart's work available in Penguin Classics is Mozart: A Life In Letters.
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  • Mozart

    John Suchet

    Product Code: AZIVH
    Hardback
    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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  • Music in Vienna

    David Wyn Jones

    Product Code: AZAUQ
    Hardback
    The image of Vienna as a musical city is a familiar one. Vienna has long been associated with many of the most significant composers in Western music - from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, through the Strauss family, Brahms, Bruckner and Wolf, to Mahler, Lehar, Schoenberg and Webern. Today, venerable institutions like the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatsoper and the Vienna Boys' Choir, together with the shared pride of residents and visitors in its musical inheritance, ensure that the image of a musical city is undimmed. This book explores the history of music in Vienna, focussing on three different epochs, 1700, 1800 and 1900, an approach which allows the very different relationships between music and society that existed in each of these periods to be distinguished. Patronage, social function and audience are key considerations, set within wider political and cultural developments. The volume is populated by emperors, princes, performers, publishers and writers as well as composers, and deals with institutional and commercial characteristics alongside representative individual works. Music in Vienna focusses on the political and social role of music, broadening our understanding of the city as a musical capital. It will appeal to a wide readership, including music historians and political, cultural and social historians, as well as the interested general reader. DAVID WYN JONES is Professor of Music at Cardiff University.
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  • The Thought of Music

    Lawrence Kramer

    Product Code: AYMRV
    Paperback
    What, exactly, is knowledge of music? And what does it tell us about humanistic knowledge in general? The Thought of Music grapples directly with these fundamental questions-questions especially compelling at a time when humanistic knowledge is enmeshed in debates about its character and future. In this third volume in a trilogy on musical understanding that includes Interpreting Music and Expression and Truth, Lawrence Kramer seeks answers in both thought about music and thought in music-thinking in tones. He skillfully assesses musical scholarship in the aftermath of critical musicology and musical hermeneutics and in view of more recent concerns with embodiment, affect, and performance. This authoritative and timely work challenges the prevailing conceptions of every topic it addresses: language, context, and culture; pleasure and performance; and, through music, the foundations of understanding in the humanities. The publisher gratefully acknowledges the Joseph Kerman Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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  • Beethoven's Symphonies

    Lewis Lockwood

    Product Code: AYHTO
    Paperback
    Lewis Lockwood's compelling story introduces each symphony as an individual artwork and traces the creative background of each, set against the contemporary political upheavals, the growth of concert life and the relationship to his major works in other genres. From the first symphonies to the monumental Ninth, his lifelong passion to compose works of transcendent aesthetic and moral value is brilliantly brought to life.
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  • Sounds and Sweet Airs

    Anna Beer

    Product Code: AYEFK
    Paperback
    A Classical Music Book of the Year Francesca Caccini. Barbara Strozzi. Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. Marianna Martines. Fanny Hensel. Clara Schumann. Lili Boulanger. Elizabeth Maconchy. Since the birth of classical music, women who dared compose have faced a bitter struggle to be heard. In spite of this, female composers continued to create, inspire and challenge. Yet even today so much of their work languishes unheard. Anna Beer reveals the highs and lows experienced by eight composers across the centuries, from Renaissance Florence to twentieth-century London, restoring to their rightful place exceptional women whom history has forgotten.
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  • 30-Second Classical Music

    Joanne Cormac

    Product Code: AXETZ
    Hardback
    Do you know a capella from zarzuela, or your major from your minor? Can you distinguish between a serenade and a symphony? If you only have 30 seconds, there is time - using this book - to understand the creative journey taken by classical music from the Middle Ages to the modern era. Our early ancestors understood pitch and rhythm, the basic tools that have been worked and ordered by composers and performers over the past 400 years into an extraordinary body of music written for soloists, chamber musicians and entire orchestras. Today, everyone has access to a prodigy of classical music which, far from being traditional or elitist, is alive and magical. From plainsong to programme music, appreciate the magnitude and majesty, the passion and the pathos of sounds that have the power to stir our emotions to great joy or infinite sadness. Here's music to your ears.
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  • Beethoven's Third Symphony 'the Eroica'

    James Hamilton-Paterson

    Product Code: AVXGM
    Hardback
    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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  • Music for Life

    Fiona Maddocks

    Product Code: AVGDY
    Hardback
    How does music reflect the key moments in our lives? How do we choose the works that inspire, delight, comfort or console? Fiona Maddocks selects 100 classical works from across nine centuries, arguing passionately, persuasively and at times obstinately for their inclusion, putting each work in its cultural and musical context, discussing omissions, suggesting alternatives and always putting the music first.
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