Music, according to Aaron Copland, can thrive only if there are "gifted listeners." But today's listeners must choose between classical and rock, opera and rap, and the choices can seem overwhelming at times. In The Essential Canon of Classical Music, David Dubal comes to the aid of the struggling listener and provides a cultural-literacy handbook for classical music. Dubal identifies the 240 composers whose works are most important to an understanding of classical music and offers a comprehensive, chronological guide to their lives and works. He has searched beyond the traditional canon to introduce readers to little-known works by some of the most revered names in classical music-Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert-as well as to the major works of lesser-known composers. In a spirited and opinionated voice, Dubal seeks to rid us of the notion of "masterpieces" and instead to foster a new generation of master listeners. The result is an uncommon collection of the wonders classical music has to offer.
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.
In Reinventing Bach, his remarkable second book, Paul Elie tells the electrifying story of how musicians of genius have made Bach's music new in our time, at once restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.
As a musician in eighteenth-century Germany, Bach was on the technological frontier—restoring organs, inventing instruments, and perfecting the tuning system still in use today. Two centuries later, pioneering musicians began to take advantage of breakthroughs in audio recording to make Bach's music the sound of modern transcendence. The sainted organist Albert Schweitzer played to a mobile recording unit set up at London's Church of All Hallows in order to spread Bach's organ works to the world beyond the churches. Pablo Casals, recording at Abbey Road Studios, made Bach's cello suites existentialism for the living room; Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney, with Fantasia, made Bach the sound of children's playtime and Hollywood grandeur alike. Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations opened and closed the LP era and made Bach the byword for postwar cool; and Yo-Yo Ma has brought Bach into the digital present, where computers and smartphones put the sound of Bach all around us. In this book we see these musicians and dozens of others searching, experimenting, and collaborating with one another in the service of Bach, who emerges as the very image of the spiritualized, technically savvy artist.
Reinventing Bach is a gorgeously written story of music, invention, and human passion—and a story with special relevance in our time, for it shows that great things can happen when high art meets new technology.
Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter, the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country.
A Canadian prairie girl, a free-spirited artist, Mitchell never wanted to be a pop star. She was nothing more than “a painter derailed by circumstances,” she would explain. And yet, she went on to become a talented self-taught musician and a brilliant bandleader, releasing album after album, each distinctly experimental, challenging, and revealing. Her lyrics captivated listeners with their perceptive language and naked emotion, born out of Mitchell’s life, loves, complaints, and prophecies. As an artist whose work deftly balances narrative and musical complexity, she has been admired by such legendary lyricists as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and beloved by such groundbreaking jazz musicians as Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock. Her hits—from “Big Yellow Taxi” to “Both Sides, Now” to “A Case of You”—endure as timeless favorites, and her influence on the generations of singer-songwriters who would follow her, from her devoted fan Prince to Björk, is undeniable.
In this intimate biography, drawing on dozens of unprecedented in-person interviews with Mitchell, her childhood friends, and a cast of famous characters, Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs—from Mitchell’s youth in Canada, her bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, through the love affairs that inspired masterpieces, and up to the present—and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.
“This is not just criticism but poetry in itself, with the additional—and inestimable—merit of being true.” — Washington Post Book World
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, Dutch) is one of America’s most distinguished biographers, known for his rich, compulsively readable prose style. His biography of Beethoven, one of the most admired composers in the history of music, is above all a study of genius in action, of one of the few giants of Western culture. Beethoven is another engaging entry in the HarperCollins’ “Eminent Lives” series of biographies by distinguished authors on canonical figures.
Stravinsky answers searching questions about his musical development and recalls his association with Diaghilev and the Russian Ballet. There are sympathetic and extraordinarily illuminating reminiscences of such composers as Debussy and Ravel ('the only musicians who immediately understood Le Sacre du Printemps'), while mischievous squibs are directed at others, most notably perhaps against Richard Strauss, all of whose operas Stravinsky wished 'to admit ... to whichever purgatory punishes triumphant banality'.
The conversations are by no means confined to musical subjects, ranging uninhibitedly across all the arts: Stravinsky gives unforgettable sketches of Ibsen, Rodin, Proust, Giacometti, Dylan Thomas and T S Eliot.
'The conversations between Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft are unique in musical history. The penetration of Craft's questions and the patience and detail of Stravinsky's answers combine to produce an intimate picture of a man who has sometimes puzzled, often delighted, and always intrigued ...' The Sunday Times
With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece.
In a remarkable part of the book Bridcut tells for the first time the full story of Britten's love affair in the 1930s with the 18-year-old German Wulff Scherchen, son of the conductor Hermann Scherchen. As Paul Hoggart of The Times commented, 'this type of love belonged to an emotional landscape that has vanished for ever, and we are the poorer for it'. Since making the film, the author has extended his research to include friendships Britten had with children which have not previously been documented.
The documentary Britten's Children won the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2005 Award for Creative Communication: 'this serious and beautiful film explored one aspect of a composer's life in great depth. Avoiding the temptation of sensationalism, Britten's Children was imaginatively researched and both touching and revelatory'.
‘Andrew Ford’s wide-ranging musical autobiography is a pleasure to read. Accessible, informative and packed with anecdotes, it’s an excellent guide to the life of a composer: what it entails, what matters, and how and why it happened in the first place.’ —Steven Isserlis
‘I love discovering how people become who they are. Andrew Ford’s book took me into a new world: composition. His insight into how we talk about music and what it brings up for people is fascinating.’ —Julia Zemiro
‘Andrew Ford is one of the greatest music broadcasters around – and not just in Australia – yet The Memory of Music shows that he is much more than that. What is most striking is the extraordinary honesty in the way that he opens up how a composer really works and thinks, and the detail of a composer’s everyday concerns – the ways that real life impinges on the artistic process. Having spent a lifetime in music myself, this book rings more true than anything else I have read. It’s beautifully written, the prose flows effortlessly, and it’s from the heart.’ —Gavin Bryars
On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside—so loudly that he couldn't hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air.
Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
Doctor Faustus is a play about desire: for the best in life, for knowledge, power, material comfort, and influence. Faustus sells his soul to the devil hoping to learn the secrets of the universe, but is fobbed off with explanations which he knows to be inadequate. He is obsessed with fame, but his achievement as a devil-assisted celebrity magician is less substantial than it was previously as a scholar.
Marlowe's most famous play is a tragedy, but also extremely funny. It involves hideous representations of the Seven Deadly Sins, and of Helen of Troy, the world's most beautiful woman. With its fireworks and special effects, it was one of the most spectacular and popular on the Elizabethan stage. Yet, ever since Marlowe's death, it has been regularly rewritten. Its mix of fantastical story, slapstick, and raw human emotion still arouses conflicting interpretations, and presents us with endlessly fascinating problems.
This student edition is based on the earlier so-called A-text of the play, with the B-text scenes included in an appendix. It contains a lengthy Introduction with interpretation of the play in its historical and cultural context, stage history, discussion of the complex textual problems, and background on the author, date and sources.
One of rock music's most intelligent and literary performers, Pete Townshend—guitarist, songwriter, editor—tells his closest-held stories about the origins of the preeminent twentieth-century band The Who, his own career as an artist and performer, and his restless life in and out of the public eye in this candid autobiography, Who I Am.
With eloquence, fierce intelligence, and brutal honesty, Townshend has written a deeply personal book that also stands as a primary source for popular music's greatest epoch. Readers will be confronted by a man laying bare who he is, an artist who has asked for nearly sixty years: Who are you?
Whether lakeside hut or moated castle, clock tower or cave, village school or fine town house, the physical context for musical genius and the artefacts of day-to-day existence have a powerful impact on how we perceive the figure behind the music we know and love. Julie and Stanley Sadie have journeyed to thirty-one countries to compile this unique travel companion and reference source. They offer practical information for the visitor, seasoned insights, and lively commentary. Richly illustrated and supported by thorough maps, the entries on individual composers trace their steps through the practicalities of life and reveal to us the context of creativity.
Alan Bennett's new play is as much about the theater as it is about poetry or music. It looks at the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and at the ethics of biography. It reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent: ultimately, on the habit of art.