Musical Styles & Genres

Classical Music Books

    Michael Church
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    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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    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.
    Wye Jamison Allanbrook
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    Wye Jamison Allanbrook's The Secular Commedia is a stimulating and original rethinking of the music of the late eighteenth century. Hearing the symphonies and concertos of Haydn and Mozart with an ear tuned to operatic style, as their earliest listeners did, Allanbrook shows that this familiar music is built on a set of mimetic associations drawn from conventional modes of depicting character and emotion in opera buffa. Allanbrook mines a rich trove of writings by eighteenth-century philosophers and music theorists to show that vocal music was considered aesthetically superior to instrumental music and that listeners easily perceived the theatrical tropes that underpinned the style. Tracing Enlightenment notions of character and expression back to Greek and Latin writings about comedy and drama, she strips away preoccupations with symphonic form and teleology to reveal anew the kaleidoscopic variety and gestural vitality of the musical surface. In prose as graceful and nimble as the music she discusses, Allanbrook elucidates the idiom of this period for contemporary readers. With notes, musical examples, and a foreword by editors Mary Ann Smart and Richard Taruskin.
    Mauro Calcagno
    • £70.95
    This pathbreaking study links two traditionally separate genres as their stars crossed to explore the emergence of multiple selves in early modern Italian culture and society. Mauro Calcagno focuses on the works of Claudio Monteverdi, a master of both genres, to investigate how they reflect changing ideas about performance and role-playing by singers. Calcagno traces the roots of dialogic subjectivity to Petrarch's love poetry arguing that Petrarchism exerted a powerful influence not only on late Renaissance literature and art, but also on music. Covering more than a century of music and cultural history, the book demonstrates that the birth of opera relied on an important feature of the madrigalian tradition: the role of the composer as a narrative agent enabling performers to become characters and hold a specific point of view.
    Stephen Hastings
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    A half century after his death in 1960, Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling remains one of the most beloved singers in the world. He spent forty-five of his forty-nine years performing in public, rapidly conquering opera-house and concert stages on both sides of the Atlantic. Along the way, he left a vast recorded legacy that continues to enchant lovers of vocal music and inspire young singers. In this ground-breaking book, Stephen Hastings analyzes more than four hundred of the great tenor's recordings, comparing them with the output of a hundred other tenors, from Caruso to Alagna. The repertoire ranges from brief art songs by Schubert and Sibelius to entire opera recordings--some made in the studio, others captured live. What emerges is a richly layered portrait of this most musical of singers. As Hastings's comparisons demonstrate, Bjorling left his unique imprint on all the scores he sang, combining a perennial freshness of approach with the richly inflected phrasing made possible by a perfectly honed technique.
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    The early seventeenth century, when the first operas were written and technical advances with far-reaching consequences - such as tonal music - began to develop, is also notable for another shift: the displacement of aristocratic music-makers by a new professional class of performers. In this book, Andrew Dell'Antonio looks at a related phenomenon: the rise of a cultivated audience whose skill involved listening rather than playing or singing. Drawing from contemporaneous discourses and other commentaries on music, the visual arts, and Church doctrine, Dell'Antonio links the new ideas about cultivated listening with other intellectual trends of the period: humanistic learning, contemplative listening (or watching) as an active spiritual practice, and musical mysticism as an ideal promoted by the Church as part of the Catholic Reformation.
  • SFHM
    Stephen Fry and Tim Lihoreau
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    National treasure and clever clogs Stephen Fry provides a riotous, rambling and rather potted history of classical music in this must-read book.

    Covering 700 years, Stephen throws in references to pretty much anything he wants as he tells how classical music came to soundtrack the nation. Along the way, he'll mention the Mongol invasion of Russia and Genghis Khan, the Black Death and the revolutionary atmosphere of Mozart's Don Giovanni.

    Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Wagner, Mozart... all the key players are featured in this endlessly entertaining read about classical music and so much more.
    Michael Steen
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    Michael Steen's "Great Composers" was originally published in 2003. A lifetime's work and almost 1000 pages long, it has since become 'the' reference point and key read on the biographical backgrounds to classical music's biggest names. Authoritative and hugely detailed - but nonetheless a joy to read - this new edition will expand its readership further and capitalise on a newfound popular interest (as evidenced by the success of Alex Ross' "The Rest is Noise") in classical music. This work helps you explore the story of Bach, the respectable burgher much of whose vast output was composed amidst petty turf disputes in Lutheran Leipzig; or the ugly, argumentative Beethoven in French-occupied Vienna, obsessed by his laundry; or Mozart, the over-exploited infant prodigy whose untimely death was shrouded in rumour. In this work, read about Verdi, who composed against the background of the Italian Risorgimento; or about the family life of the Wagners; and, Brahms, who rose from the slums of Hamburg to become a devotee of beer and coffee in fin-de-siecle Vienna, a cultural capital bent on destroying Mahler...and much, much more.
    Caroline High
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    Have you ever wondered...* how the orchestra got its name? * who wrote the longest-ever symphony? * just how do we know when to clap - and when not to? From Bach to Beethoven, Vivaldi to Vaughan Williams, the world of classical music has something to enchant every listener. Whether you're an armchair connoisseur, a regular concert-goer or an ardent musician, For the Love of Classical Music will take you on a tour encompassing landmark pieces and performances, key artists and composers, and surprising facts about the world's most beautiful music.
    Jon Paxman
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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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    This new biography is a fascinating account of the period in which Chopin lived, and the way in which the political scene helped shape his music. The important people and places in the composer's life are brought vividly to life by the use of contemporary engraving, paintings and lithographs. The author has made extensive use of contemporary accounts, letters and notebooks, and reproduces little known caricatures drawn by Chopin. This is an ideal book for the music lover who has no specialist knowledge. At the same time it will prove a valuable source of original material for students and professionals looking for fresh insights into Chopin's music. Includes a CD featuring a selection of recordings by the composer.
    David Cairns
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    David Cairns weaves a brilliantly engaging narrative which puts Mozart's operas in the context of his life, showing how they illuminate his creativity as a whole. Mozart's unusual childhood as a musical prodigy touring Europe as a performer from an early age is well known. But even more remarkable is that the genius grew up, surviving his unnatural early years and producing works of increasing maturity and originality. Using the operas as his guide, Cairns traces the steady deepening of Mozart's musical style from his beginnings as a child prodigy, through his coming of age with what Cairns sees as the most Romantic and forward-looking of all Mozart's operas, "Idomeneo", the later genius displayed in the three comic operas, "The Marriage of Figaro", "Don Giovanni", and "Cosi Fan Tutte", and in "The Magic Flute", the final and greatest triumph of his career.
  • ACFWS 16 years +
    16 years +
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    'Hello, I'm Stephen Fry. Now time for the first outing of a brand, spanking new feature here on "The Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music"...putting some unsuspecting figure in music under the spotlight.' In his "Incomplete & Utter History of Classical Music", Stephen Fry presents a potted and brilliantly rambling 700-year history of classical music and the world as we know it. Along this musical journey he casually throws in references to pretty much whatever takes his fancy, from the Mongol invasion of Russia and Mr Khan (Genghis to his friends), the founding of the MCC, the Black Death (which once again became the new black in England), to the heady revolutionary atmosphere of Mozart's Don Giovanni and the deep doo-doo that Louis XVI got into (or 'du-du' as the French would say). It's all here - Ambrose and early English plainsong, Bach, Mozart (beloved of mobile phones everywhere), Beethoven, Debussy, Wagner (the old romantic), right up to the present day. Entertaining and brilliantly written, this is a pretty reckless romp of a history through classical music and much much more.
    Em Marshall
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    Music in the Landscape is an exuberant celebration of British composers and the landscape. The book explores the lives of some of our nation's greatest musical names and sets them within the context of the rich variety of their native countryside - wherein Britain's vast variation of colour, light and contour, from gentle rounded valleys to bleak mountain landscapes and wild coastland, has resulted in great masterpieces that brim with expression and emotion. Although readers may be aware of Elgar's love of the Malverns or Britten's identification with the Suffolk coast, nearly all British composers of the early- to mid-twentieth century were influenced by the landscapes in which they were born or chose to live, and so this book effectively presents a history of the Golden Renaissance of English music. Marshall delves into particular places that were vital to the inspiration of musical landmarks - such as Tintagel, instrumental to Bax's eponymous tone-poem; Maiden Castle of John Ireland's Mai-Dun; and Egdon Heath, Holst's evocation of the wild Dorset heathland described by Hardy in The Return of The Native. These works, and many others highlighted in this illuminating volume, epitomise the intimate relationship between nature and music that compels the attention of music-lovers throughout the world.
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    With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child now wowing audiences in the West End, many people are heading back to Hogwarts and immersing themselves in the Wizarding World all over again.

    If you're one of those reading or watching the series, you're surely going to have some of the famous music from the films playing in your head while you read about Harry's magical adventures. This book brings together 36 sheet music selections by composers John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper and Alexandre Desplat.

    Covering all eight films, among the compositions there are big note piano arrangements for are Diagon Alley, Hedwig's Theme, Potter Waltz and Leaving Hogwarts. These are joined by eight pages of colour stills that cover every film from The Philosopher's Stone to The Deathly Hallows.
    Richard Fawkes
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    Why is Chelsea so important to the Mozart story? Who really headlined at the first ever Glastonbury Festival? Which small Welse village to Faure, Stravinsky and Prokofiev have in common? 'The Classical Music Map of Britain' is a charming and fascinating journey around the UK from a classical music perspective. Extensively researched and beatufylly written, every entry explains why each place was so special to the composer in question, which pieces were composed there, and whether it is currently open to the public. Inclusing hand-illustrated maps depicting key areas of interest, 'The Classical Music Map of Britain' is an enchanting adventure around some of our lesser-known landmarks - perfect for any lover of history or classical music, or those keen to discover a bit more about how music has shaped our country.
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    Downloads, CDs and DVD mean it is possible to listen to hundreds of thousands of classical recordings today - but how do you pick your way through the vast array of music now on offer? The "Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings" brings together the experience and enthusiasm of four of classical music's greatest experts, Ivan March, Edward Greenfield, Robert Layton and Paul Czajkowski, to create an essential guide to the best recordings. With clear, simple, easy-to-use A to Z listings of composers and performers, the pick of the latest CD releases, as well as established landmark recordings, short guides to ballet, opera and the history of recording, and indications of budget and mid-range price CDs, this guide offers a treasury of outstanding music, whether you are just starting to build a collection or tracking down a particular favourite.
    Professor Julian Johnson (Univ
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    What does classical music mean to the Western World? How has it transformed over the centuries? With such a rich tradition, what relevance does it have today? Julian Johnson inspires readers to explore the field, and examines how music is related to some of the big ideas of Western experience including spirituality, emotion, the weight of history, and self identity.
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    Have a passion for Mozart? Yearn to play his music? With fingerings clearly marked and designed for easy reading, these books are the ideal resource for any piano or keyboard player. Suited to every ability and helpfully grouped by level of difficulty each book contains pieces to delight lovers of the classical masterpieces. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sheet Music for Piano includes everything from 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' to 'Rondo Alla Turca'.
    Gareth Malone
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    Have you ever been carried away by a piece of classical music? In this funny, evocative, personal book, previously published as 'Music for the People: The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Classical Music', Gareth takes us on a journey of musical discovery that explains and entertains in equal measure. Have you ever been carried away by a piece of classical music? The sad song of a single violin might make us cry, but the idea of finding out more about classical music can often be intimidating. There are musical terms we don't recognise, dead composers we can't connect with, and a feeling that we were never given the right tools to appreciate, understand, and most importantly, enjoy classical music. So who better to cut through the misconceptions and the jargon than the star of BBC2's Bafta award-winning series The Choir, Gareth Malone. Over the course of three series, Gareth has unearthed a passion for classical music in schoolchildren, reluctant teenage boys, and even a whole town. With his infectious enthusiasm and gift for explanation, Gareth's very personal narrative will provide a foundation of classical music understanding and give the reader the tools to appreciate a whole new world of music - from Bach to Beethoven and beyond. So whether you want to learn more about the great composers, introduce an almost infinite variety into your iPod playlist, or are just curious about what you might be missing out on, Everything you Wanted to Know about Classical Music will leave you entertained, informed and completely inspired.
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    Teach Yourself Classical Music is a clear, concise yet comprehensive introduction to the world of classical music for the newcomer. It takes your listening experience as the starting point and fills in factual details along the way. New topics are introduced step by step and are always presented from the listener's point of view. These topics include: - Listening to music: developing skills - What is classical music? - The architecture of music: forms and structures - Historical background: different periods and different styles - The instruments of the orchestra - Starting a collection of recorded music Examples from well-known pieces are examined in a clear and non-technical way. Whether you dip into Teach Yourself Classical Music from time to time or read it straight through, you will feel that your musical horizons have been broadened and that you have gained the knowledge and confidence to extend your musical experiences further.
    Tom Service
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    How are conductors' silent gestures magicked into sound by a group of more than a hundred brilliant but belligerent musicians? The mute choreography of great conductors has fascinated and frustrated musicians and music-lovers for centuries, from Toscanini to Karajan, from Carlos Kleiber to Gustavo Dudamel. Orchestras can be inspired to the heights of musical and expressive possibility by their maestros, or flabbergasted that someone who doesn't even make a sound should be elevated to demigod-like status by the public. This is the first book to go inside the rehearsal rooms of some of the most inspirational orchestral partnerships in the world. It's the first to see how Simon Rattle works with his musicians at the Berlin Philharmonic, how Mariss Jansons deals with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and how Claudio Abbado creates the world's most luxurious pick-up band every year with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. From London to Budapest, Bamberg to Vienna, great orchestral concerts are recreated as a collection of countless human and musical stories. The book reveals how the catalysts of place, time, and personal history are alchemised into the indelible magic of life-changing performances.
  • ALTEU 14 years +
    Stanley Sadie
    14 years +
    • £19.89
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    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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    This is an outstanding and authoritative box set for classical music enthusiasts, covering the complete history of music-making, sections of the orchestra, and the lives and works of the great composers. It examines a wide range of musical instruments, including strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, keyboards and the voice, as well as rare and non-Western instruments. It features in-depth biographies of over 100 famous composers, such as Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Shostakovich, encompassing all styles of composition from medieval times to the present day. It is fully illustrated with over 1150 photographs, fine art paintings and illuminations, including handwritten musical manuscripts, scenes from ballets and operas, concert halls, orchestras, musical instruments and composers' portraits. The two books in this beautiful box set provide a complete illustrated guide to the history of music, instruments of the orchestra and the most influential classical composers. Music answers the question, "What is music?" and "What is a musical instrument?", and contains a directory of strings, woodwind and brass, percussion and keyboards, as well as a section on the voice. Composers covers the life and times and key works of over 100 great composers, from Bach to Tchaikovsky, and continues up to modern composers such as Carter, Boulez and Stockhausen. For all those who love classical music and want to find out more, The Music Box is an essential companion.