Classical Music Books
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
- RRP £25.00
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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.
- RRP £49.95
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Mapping Canada's Music is a selection of writings by the late Canadian music librarian and historian Helmut Kallmann (1922-2012). Most of the essays deal with aspects of Canadian music, but some are also autobiographical, including one written during retirement in which Kallmann recalls growing up in a middle-class Jewish family in 1930s Berlin under the spectre of Nazism. Of the seventeen selected writings by Kallmann, five have never before been published; many of the others are from difficult-to-locate sources. They include critical and research essays, reports, reflections, and memoirs. Each chapter is prefaced with an introduction by the editors. Two initial chapters offer a biography of Kallmann and an assessment of his contributions to Canadian music. The variety, breadth, and scope of these writings confirm Kallmann's pioneering role in Canadian music research and the importance of his legacy to the cultural life of his adopted country. In the current climate of cuts to archival collections and services, the publication of these essays by and about a pre-eminent collector and historian serves as a timely reminder of the importance of cultural memory.
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.
- RRP £70.95
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.
- RRP £70.95
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.
- RRP £16.99
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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.
- RRP £39.95
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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.
- RRP £12.95
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.
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ACFWS 16 years +16 years +
'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.
- RRP £11.99
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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.
- RRP £27.50
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.
- RRP £7.99
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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.
- RRP £9.99
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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'.
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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.
- RRP £9.99
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.
- RRP £10.99
Classic FM's Handy Guides are a beautifully designed, covetable set of introductions to classical music, each of which can be read and digested in one sitting, bringing the subject to life in an easily accessible format. Perfect for anyone new to the world of classical music as well as aficionados with busy schedules. In this highly engaging short introduction, the history of classical music has been condensed into 50,000 words - the landmarks, milestones and major movements, the great composers, events and ideas. Published in partnership with Classic FM, the book will have a wide appeal to classical music fans of all kinds, seeking equally to educate, inform and entertain.
- RRP £11.99
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Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms, oh, my! The beginner's guide to classical music Classical Music For Dummies is a friendly, funny, easy-to-understand guide to composers, instruments, orchestras, concerts, recordings, and more. Classical music is widely considered one of the pinnacles of human achievement, and this informative guide will shows you just how beautiful and rewarding it can be. You'll learn how Bach is different from Beethoven, how Mozart is different still, and why not all "classical" music is actually Classical if it's really Baroque or Romantic. You'll be introduced to the composers and their work, and discover the groundbreaking pieces that shake the world every time they're played. Begin building your classical music library with the essential recordings that define orchestral, choral, and operatic beauty as you get acquainted with the orchestras and musicians that bring the composers to life. Whether you want to play classical music or just learn more about it, Classical Music For Dummies will teach you everything you need to know to get the most out of this increasingly popular genre. * Distinguish flute from piccolo, violin from viola, and trumpet from trombone * Learn the difference between overtures, requiems, arias, and masses * Explore the composers that shaped music as we know it * Discover the recordings your music library cannot be without Classical music has begun sneaking into the mainstream if your interest has been piqued, there's never been a better time to develop an appreciation for this incredibly rich, complex, and varied body of work. Classical Music For Dummies lays the groundwork, and demonstrates just how amazing classical music can be.
- RRP £17.99
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The Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame celebrates classical music's unique ability to stir the emotions of a listener - whether it's the haunting melodies of Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs or Purcell's Dido and Aeneas; the passionately charged opening bars of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5; dramatic operas such as Puccini's La boheme; the moving sounds of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto; beautiful ballet scores from Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky; or blockbuster film soundtracks composed by John Williams and Howard Shore.; This new edition of the Sunday Times bestseller celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Classic FM Hall of Fame. With a fully updated chart of the nation's 300 favourite works, based on votes cast by millions of listeners over the past twenty years, a revised introduction and beautiful new illustrations, this definitive collection encompasses a rich variety of classical greats, contemporary masters, lesser-known treasures and outstanding British composers to provide a fascinating insight into our relationship with the music we love.; Darren Henley, Sam Jackson and Tim Lihoreau guide us through the world of classical music and the people responsible for creating and performing it. Combining fascinating histories and biographies, recommended recordings and the ranking of the 300 pieces themselves, this book is as relevant to a new listener discovering the joys of classical music as it is to long-time lovers of the genre. The Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame is a beautifully illustrated testament to the enduring power of classical music to inspire, entertain, relax and invigorate us.
- RRP £25.00
Sounds and Sweet Airs: the Forgotten Women of Classical Music reveals the hidden stories of eight remarkable composers, taking the reader on a journey from seventeenth-century Medici Florence to London in the Blitz. Revealing not just the lives and works of eight exceptional artists, historian Anna Beer also asks tough questions about the silencing of their legacy, which continues to this day. Why do we still not hear masterpieces such as Hensel's piano work 'The Year', Caccini's arias and Boulanger's setting of Psalm 130? A long-overdue celebration of neglected virtuosos, Sounds and Sweet Airs presents a complex and inspirational picture of artistic endeavour and achievement that deserves to be part of our cultural heritage. The featured composers are Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Marianna Martines, Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn), Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and Elizabeth Maconchy.
- RRP £16.99
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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.
- RRP £12.99
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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.
- RRP £14.99
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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.
- RRP £9.99
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The BBC Proms is the world's biggest and longest-running classical music festival and one of the jewels in the crown for the BBC. It is one of the strongest brand names in the music world and attracts a glittering array of artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 150 concerts, talks, workshops and family events around London every summer. Whether you're a first-time visitor or an experienced Prommer, watching at home or listening on radio or online, the BBC Proms Guide will help you to plan your summer of music and discover in depth what lies behind the Proms - from the composers to the performers to how the events are broadcast. The Proms Guide contains brand-new articles on featured composers and insights on performers, new music and accompanying events.
- RRP £7.00
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