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Why is classical music predominantly the preserve of the white middle classes? Contemporary associations between classical music and social class remain underexplored, with classical music primarily studied as a text rather than as a practice until recent years. In order to answer this question, this book outlines a new approach for a socio-cultural analysis of classical music, asking how musical institutions, practices, and aesthetics are shaped by wider conditions of economic inequality, and how music might enable and entrench such inequalities or work against them. This approach is put into practice through a richly detailed ethnography which locates classical music within one of the cultures that produces it - middle-class English youth - and foregrounds classical music as bodily practice of control and restraint. Drawing on the author's own background as a classical musician, this closely observed account examines youth orchestra and youth choir rehearsals as a space where young people learn the unspoken rules of this culture of weighty tradition and gendered control. It highlights how the middle-classes' habitual roles - boundary drawing around their protected spaces and reproducing their privilege through education - can be traced within the everyday spaces of classical music. These practices are camouflaged, however, by the ideology of 'autonomous art' that classical music carries. Rather than solely examining the social relations around the music, the book demonstrates how this reproductive work is facilitated by its very aesthetic, of 'controlled excitement', 'getting it right', precision, and detail. This book is of particular interest at the present moment, thanks to the worldwide proliferation of El Sistema-inspired programmes which teach classical music to children in disadvantaged areas. While such schemes demonstrate a resurgence in defending the value of classical music, there has been a lack of debate over the ways in which its socio-cultural heritage shapes its conventions today. This book locates these contestations within contemporary debates on class, gender and whiteness, making visible what is at stake in such programmes.
Artists today are at a crossroads. With funding for the arts and humanities endowments perpetually under attack, and school districts all over the United States scrapping their art curricula altogether, the place of the arts in our civic future is uncertain to say the least. At the same time, faced with the problems of the modern world—from water shortages and grave health concerns to global climate change and the now constant threat of terrorism—one might question the urgency of this waning support for the arts. In the politically fraught world we live in, is the “felt” experience even something worth fighting for?

In this soul-searching collection of vignettes, Patrick Summers gives us an adamant, impassioned affirmative. Art, he argues, nurtures freedom of thought, and is more necessary now than ever before.

As artistic director of the Houston Grand Opera, Summers is well positioned to take stock of the limitations of the professional arts world—a world where the conversation revolves almost entirely around financial questions and whose reputation tends toward elitism—and to remind us of art’s fundamental relationship to joy and meaning. Offering a vehement defense of long-form arts in a world with a short attention span, Summers argues that art is spiritual, and that music in particular has the ability to ask spiritual questions, to inspire cathartic pathos, and to express spiritual truths. Summers guides us through his personal encounters with art and music in disparate places, from Houston’s Rothko Chapel to a music classroom in rural China, and reflects on musical works he has conducted all over the world. Assessing the growing canon of new operas performed in American opera houses today, he calls for musical artists to be innovative and brave as opera continues to reinvent itself.

This book is a moving credo elucidating Summers’s belief that the arts, especially music, help us to understand our own humanity as intellectual, aesthetic, and ultimately spiritual.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, neoclassicism was one of the dominant movements in American music. Today this music is largely in eclipse, mostly absent in performance and even from accounts of music history, in spite of—and initially because of—its adherence to an expanded tonality. No previous book has focused on the nature and scope of this musical tradition. Neoclassical Music in America: Voices of Clarity and Restraint makes clear what neoclassicism was, how it emerged in America, and what happened to it.

Music reviewer and scholar, R. James Tobin argues that efforts to define musical neoclassicism as a style largely fail because of the stylistic diversity of the music that fall within its scope. However, neoclassicists as different from one another as the influential Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith did have a classical aesthetic in common, the basic characteristics of which extend to other neoclassicists This study focuses, in particular, on a group of interrelated neoclassical American composers who came to full maturity in the 1940s. These included Harvard professor Walter Piston, who had studied in France in the 1920s; Harold Shapero, the most traditional of the group; Irving Fine and Arthur Berger, his colleagues at Brandeis; Lukas Foss, later an experimentalist composer whose origins lay in neoclassicism of the 1940s; Alexei Haieff, and Ingolf Dahl, both close associates of Stravinsky; and others. Tobin surveys the careers of these figures, drawing especially on early reviews of performances before offering his own critical assessment of individual works.

Adventurous collectors of recordings, performing musicians, concert and broadcasting programmers, as well as music and cultural historians and those interested in musical aesthetics, will find much of interest here. Dates of composition, approximate duration of individual works, and discographies add to the work’s reference value.

Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion charts a path through American music and musical life using as guides the words of composers, performers, writers and the rest of us ordinary folks who sing, dance, and listen. The anthology of primary sources contains about 160 selections from 1540 to 2000. Sometimes the sources are classics in the literature around American music, for example, the Preface to the Bay Psalm Book, excerpts from Slave Songs of the United States, and Charles Ives extolling Emerson. But many other selections offer uncommon sources, including a satirical story about a Yankee music teacher; various columns from 19th-century German American newspapers; the memoirs of a 19th-century diva; Lottie Joplin remembering her husband Scott; a little-known reflection of Copland about Stravinsky; an interview with Muddy Waters from the Chicago Defender; a letter from Woody Guthrie on the "spunkfire" attitude of a folk song; a press release from the Country Music Association; and the Congressional testimony around "Napster." "Sidebar" entries occasionally bring a topic or an idea into the present, acknowledging the extent to which revivals of many kinds of music play a role in American contemporary culture. This book focuses on the connections between theory and practice to enrich our understanding of the diversity of American musical experiences. Designed especially to accompany college courses which survey American music as a whole, the book is also relevant to courses in American history and American Studies.
A provocative re-examination of a major romantic composer, Rethinking Schumann provides fresh approaches to Schumann's oeuvre and its reception from the perspectives of literature, visual arts, cultural history, performance studies, dance, and film. Traditionally, research has focused on biographical links between the composer and his music, encouraging the assumption that Schumann was solitary, divorced from reality, and frequently associated with "untimeliness." These eighteen new essays argue from a multitude of perspectives that Schumann was in fact very much a man of his time, informed not only by music but also the culture and society around him. The book further reveals that the composer's reputation has been shaped significantly by, for example, changes in attitudes towards German romanticism and its history, and recent developments in musical scholarship and performance. Rethinking Schumann takes into account cultural and social-institutional frameworks, engages with ongoing and new issues of reception and historiography, and offers fresh music-analytical insights. As a whole, the essays assemble a portrait of the artist that reflects the different ways in which Schumann has been understood and misunderstood over the past two hundred years. The volume is, in short, a timely reassessment of this ultimately non-untimely figure's legacy. While the essays consider some of Schumann's most famous music (Dichterliebe, Kinderszenen and the Piano Quintet), they also provide crucial adjustment to judgments against the composer's later works by explaining their musical features not as the result of diminishing creative capacity but as reflections of the political and social situations of mid-nineteenth-century German culture and technological developments. Schumann is revealed to have been a musician engaged by and responsive to his surroundings, whose reputation was formed to a great extent by popular culture, both in his own lifetime as he responded to particular poets and painters, and later, as his life and works were responded to by subsequent generations.
The electrifying sounds of groovin' jump blues, Southern-fried rock 'n' roll, fervent black gospel, and the simmering sounds of the Louisiana swamp came bursting out of Nashville, Tennessee in the early 1950s courtesy of Excello Records and its sister Nashboro label. Operating out of Ernie's Record Mart ("the Record Center of the South!"), Excello forged a partnership with 50,000-watt clear-channel radio station WLAC. The influential station's dusk-to-dawn broadcasts of rhythm & blues boomed through the stratosphere, captivating millions of teenagers and crossing racial boundary lines. The unusual partnership paid huge dividends as Ernie Young transformed his shop into one of the largest mail-order record retailers in the world. With his built-in distribution network, Ernie's own label releases by Slim Harpo, Arthur Gunter, Lightnin' Slim, Lazy Lester, and more landed in record collections across the US. By the early 1960s, Excello releases were reaching the shores of the UK, where they inspired young Brits such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Eric Clapton to launch their own R&B combos. Through extensive research and interviews, Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story chronicles the tale of one of the most unusual labels to emerge from the 1950s. Shedding new light on Nashville's rich history as much more than a country music town, author Randy Fox takes readers deep behind the scenes of the rise and fall of an inimitable label whose contributions to blues and R&B continue to reverberate today.
What is rhetorical music? In The Pathetick Musician, Bruce Haynes and Geoffrey Burgess illustrate the vital place of rhetoric and eloquent expression in the creation and performance of Baroque music. Through engaging explorations of the cantatas of J.S. Bach, the authors explode the conventional notion of historical authenticity in music, proposing adventurous new directions to reinvigorate the performance of early music in the modern setting. Along the way, Haynes and Burgess investigate intersections between music and oratory, dance, gesture, poetry, painting and sculpture, and offer insights into figural elaboration, articulation, nuance and temporality. Aimed primarily at performers of Baroque music, the book situates the study of performance practice in a broader cultural context, and as much as an invaluable resource for advanced study, it contains a wealth of information that pertains directly to anyone working in the field of early music. Based on a draft sketched by celebrated Baroque oboist and early music scholar Bruce Haynes before his death in 2011, The Pathetick Musician is the fruit of the combined wisdom of two musicians renowned equally for their contributions as performers and scholars. Drawing on an impressive array of Classical treatises on oratory, musical autographs and performance accounts, it is an essential companion to Haynes' controversial The End of Early Music. Geoffrey Burgess has taken up the broader claims of Haynes' philosophy to create a practical, accessible text that will be stimulating for all musicians interested in the rediscovery of early music. With copious musical examples, contemporaneous works of art, and a companion website with supplementary audio recordings, The Pathetick Musician is an invaluable resource for all interested in exploring new expressive possibilities in the performance and study of Baroque music.
Opera for the People is an in-depth examination of a forgotten chapter in American social and cultural history: the love affair that middle-class Americans had with continental opera (translated into English) in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s. Author Katherine Preston reveals how-contrary to the existing historiography on the American musical culture of this period-English-language opera not only flourished in the United States during this time, but found its success significantly bolstered by the support of women impresarios, prima-donnas, managers, and philanthropists who provided financial backing to opera companies. This rich and compelling study details the lives and professional activities of several important players in American postbellum opera, including manager Effie Ober, philanthropist Jeannette Thurber, and performers/artistic directors Caroline Richings, Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa, Clara Louise Kellogg, and "the people's prima donna" Emma Abbott. Drawing from an impressive range of primary sources, including contemporaneous music and theater periodicals, playbills, memoirs, librettos, scores, and reviews and commentary on the performances in digitized newspapers, Preston tells the story of how these and other women influenced the activities of some of the more than one hundred opera companies touring the United States during the second half of the 19th century, performing opera in English for a diverse range of audiences. Countering a pervasive and misguided historical understanding of opera reception in the United States-unduly influenced by modern attitudes about the genre as elite, exclusive, expensive, and of interest only to a niche market-Opera for the People demonstrates the important (and hitherto unsuspected) place of opera in the rich cornucopia of late-century American musical theatre, which would eventually lead to the emergence of American musical comedy.
Today, Claude Debussy's position as a central figure in twentieth-century concert music is secure, and scholarship has long taken for granted the enduring musical and aesthetic contributions of his compositions. Yet this was not always the case. Unknown to many concert-goers and music scholars is the fact that for years after his death, Debussy's musical aesthetic was perceived as outmoded, decadent, and even harmful for French music. In Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation, Marianne Wheeldon examines the vicissitudes of the composer's posthumous reception in the 1920s and 30s, and analyzes the confluence of factors that helped to overturn the initial backlash against his music. Rather than viewing Debussy's artistic greatness as the cause of his enduring legacy, she considers it instead as an effect, tracing the manifold processes that shaped how his music was received and how its aesthetic worth was consolidated. Speaking to readers both within and beyond the domain of French music and culture, Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation enters into dialogue with research in the sociology of reputation and commemoration, examining the collective nature of the processes of artistic consecration. By analyzing the cultural forces that came to bear on the formation of Debussy's legacy, Wheeldon contributes to a greater understanding of the inter-war period--the cultural politics, debates, and issues that confronted musicians in 1920s and 30s Paris--and offers a musicological perspective on the subject of reputation building, to date underrepresented in recent writings on reputation and commemoration in the humanities. Debussy's Legacy and the Construction of Reputation is an important new study, groundbreaking in its methodology and in its approach to musical influence and cultural consecration.
Despite the Modernist search for new and innovative aesthetics and rejection of traditional tonality, several twentieth century composers have found their own voice while steadfastly relying on the aesthetics and techniques of Romanticism and 19th century composition principles. Musicological and reference texts have regarded these composers as isolated exceptions to modern thoughts of composition—exceptions of little importance, treated simplistically and superficially. Music critic and scholar Walter Simmons, however, believes these composers and their works should be taken seriously. They are worthy of more scholarly consideration, and deserve proper analysis, assessment, and discussion in their own regard. In Voices in the Wilderness, the first in a series of books celebrating the "Twentieth-Century Traditionalist," Simmons looks at six Neo-Romantic composers:

Ernest Bloch
Howard Hanson
Vittorio Giannini
Paul Creston
Samuel Barber
Nicolas Flagello

Through biographical overviews and a comprehensive assessment of musical works, Simmons provides readers with a clear understanding of the significance of the composers, their bodies of work, and their placement in musicological history. The chapters delve deeply and objectively into each composer's oeuvre, addressing their origins, stylistic traits and consistencies, phases of development, strengths and weaknesses, and affinities with other composers. The composers' most representative works are identified, and each chapter concludes with a discography of essential recordings.

Visit the author's website to read samples from the book and to listen to representative excerpts of each composer's work.
Even as orchestras, performers, enthusiasts, and critics across the nation--and across the globe--celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth, George Gershwin (1898-1937) remains one of America's most popular yet least appreciated composers. True, he is loved and revered for his wonderful popular songs, a few instrumental works, and the majestic opera Porgy and Bess. But most of his music is virtually unknown; hundreds of compositions, Broadway show tunes, and even several large and important instrumental works are gradually disappearing with the generations that first heard them. The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin is a bold new work that stands in opposition to this disappearance. It is also a fresh collection of essays that promises to make a key contribution to American music research. Editor Wayne Schneider has corralled some of the leading authorities of Gershwin's efforts--renowned experts and authors who have researched his music for years if not decades--and sets their work alongside articles by scholars who come to Gershwin for the first time from backgrounds in American music or popular music in general. The notable contributors include Wayne D. Shirley, Charles Hamm, Edward Jablonski, and Artis Wodehouse (who has transcribed nearly all of Gershwin's piano performances). No one who surveys the American musical landscape can doubt Gershwin's enduring popularity or profound influence, but his critical standing among today's serious music scholars is much less certain. As Schneider points out in his Introduction, there have been many biographies of Gershwin but comparatively few studies of his music in and of itself. Covering both the "popular" and "classical" extremes of Gershwin's output, as well as the many and subtle points in between, this book reevaluates the music of an American original from several enlightening perspectives. This is a book with much to offer any student or scholar of American music--while some essays explore new methods of measuring Gershwin's abilities as a composer, others draw on hitherto unavailable musical and archival sources to make arguments previously unthinkable. The essays gathered here, most of which were written especially for this volume, thus address a number of important research topics, among them biography, source studies, music analysis, performance practice, and questions of interpretation and reception. The contributions also reflect the wide diversity of contemporary thinking regarding the logic, legacy, and lure of Gershwin's music.
Drawing upon a remarkable mix of intensive research and the personal experience of a career devoted to the music about which Dvorák so presciently spoke, Maurice Peress's lively and convincing narrative treats readers to a rare and delightful glimpse behind the scenes of the burgeoning American school of music and beyond. In Dvorák to Duke Ellington, Peress begins by recounting the music's formative years: Dvorák's three year residency as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York (1892-1895), and his students, in particular Will Marion Cook and Rubin Goldmark, who would in turn become the teachers of Ellington, Gershwin, and Copland. We follow Dvorák to the famed Chicago World's Fair of 1893, where he directed a concert of his music for Bohemian Honor Day. Peress brings to light the little known African American presence at the Fair: the piano professors, about-to-be-ragtimers; and the gifted young artists Paul Dunbar, Harry T. Burleigh, and Cook, who gathered at the Haitian Pavilion with its director, Frederick Douglass, to organize their own gala concert for Colored Persons Day. Peress, a distinguished conductor, is himself a part of this story; working with Duke Ellington on the Suite from Black, Brown and Beige and his "opera comique," Queenie Pie; conducting the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass; and reconstructing landmark American concerts at which George Antheil's Ballet Mecanique, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, James Reese Europe's Clef Club (the first all-black concert at Carnegie Hall), and Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige, were first presented. Concluding with an astounding look at Ellington and his music, Dvorák to Duke Ellington offers an engrossing, elegant portrait of the Dvorák legacy, America's music, and the inestimable African-American influence upon it.
Racial Uplift and American Music, 1878-1943 traces the career of racial uplift ideology as a factor in elite African Americans' embrace of classical music around the turn of the previous century, from the collapse of Reconstruction to the death of composer/conductor R. Nathaniel Dett, whose music epitomized "uplift."

After Reconstruction many black leaders had retreated from emphasizing "inalienable rights" to a narrower rationale for equality and inclusion: they now sought to rehabilitate the race's image by stressing class distinctions, respectable middle-class behavior, and service to the masses. Musically, the black intelligentsia resorted to European models as vehicles for cultural vindication. Their response to racism was to create and promote morally positive, politically inoffensive art that idealized the race.

By incorporating black folk elements into the dignified genres of art song, symphony, and opera, "uplifters" demonstrated worthiness through high achievement in acknowledged arenas. Their efforts were variously opposed, tolerated, or supported by a range of white elites with their own notions about African American culture. The resulting conversation--more a stew of arguments than a dialogue--occupied the pages of black newspapers and informed the work of white philanthropists. Women also played crucial roles. Racial Uplift and American Music, 1878-1943 examines the lives and thought of personalities central to musical uplift--Dett, Sears CEO Julius Rosenwald, author James Monroe Trotter, sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, journalist Nora Douglas Holt, and others--with an eye to recognizing their contributions and restoring their stature.

In the illustrious and richly documented history of American jazz, no figure has been more controversial than the jazz critic. Jazz critics can be revered or reviled—often both—but they should not be ignored. And while the tradition of jazz has been covered from seemingly every angle, nobody has ever turned the pen back on itself to chronicle the many writers who have helped define how we listen to and how we understand jazz. That is, of course, until now.

In Blowin’ Hot and Cool, John Gennari provides a definitive history of jazz criticism from the 1920s to the present. The music itself is prominent in his account, as are the musicians—from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Roscoe Mitchell, and beyond. But the work takes its shape from fascinating stories of the tradition’s key critics—Leonard Feather, Martin Williams, Whitney Balliett, Dan Morgenstern, Gary Giddins, and Stanley Crouch, among many others. Gennari is the first to show the many ways these critics have mediated the relationship between the musicians and the audience—not merely as writers, but in many cases as producers, broadcasters, concert organizers, and public intellectuals as well.

For Gennari, the jazz tradition is not so much a collection of recordings and performances as it is a rancorous debate—the dissonant noise clamoring in response to the sounds of jazz. Against the backdrop of racial strife, class and gender issues, war, and protest that has defined the past seventy-five years in America, Blowin’ Hot and Cool brings to the fore jazz’s most vital critics and the role they have played not only in defining the history of jazz but also in shaping jazz’s significance in American culture and life.
Style — the distinctive manner of presentation, construction, and execution in any art — is a topic of primary importance in music history. This highly regarded text by noted musicologist Richard Crocker (University of California, Berkeley) takes a much-needed fresh look at the subject and attempts to reshape some basic ideas in the light of modern research. Seeking the reasons for stylistic change within the history of style itself (rather than in the history of men or of ideas), this enlightening account shows how music, growing out of its own past, has shaped its own development.
Professor Crocker's exceptionally clear and systematic presentation enables students to easily follow the evolution of Western musical style from Gregorian Chant (ca. 750) to the atonal music of the mid-20th century. The book stresses the continuity of basic musical principles over long periods of history, while it explores in detail moments of high stylistic achievement and the composers who exemplified them.
Drawing of the earliest written records, Crocker begins his description and analysis of Western music's changing style with a discussion of Frankish Gregorian Chant, laudes and melismas, and polyphony — the leading medium of musical development after 1150. The author traces the progression of new polyphonic forms from the Parisian motet of the 13th and 14th centuries through Italian song forms to the Franco-Flemish style of the 15th and 16th centuries. This sweeping survey then documents the emergence of the Classic Style after 1550, embodied in the music of such composers as Palestrina and Byrd, moves through new Italian dramatic styles (1600–1650) and on to the harmonic and polyphonic contributions of the 17th- and 18th-century masters.
With perception and insight, Crocker traces the creation of the German symphonic style, epitomized in the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, and deals with the parallel development of operatic style. An illuminating examination of new styles after 1900, including the serial music of Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, concludes this exhaustive study.
Over 140 music examples complement Crocker's lucid text, and lists of Selected Study Materials for each chapter are given at the back of the book. This work will be welcomed by music students at all levels, music scholars, and the interested layman as well.
A personal, idiosyncratic history of popular music that also may well be definitive, from the revered music critic

From the age of song sheets in the late nineteenth-century to the contemporary era of digital streaming, pop music has been our most influential laboratory for social and aesthetic experimentation, changing the world three minutes at a time.

In Love for Sale, David Hajdu—one of the most respected critics and music historians of our time—draws on a lifetime of listening, playing, and writing about music to show how pop has done much more than peddle fantasies of love and sex to teenagers. From vaudeville singer Eva Tanguay, the “I Don’t Care Girl” who upended Victorian conceptions of feminine propriety to become one of the biggest stars of her day to the scandal of Blondie playing disco at CBGB, Hajdu presents an incisive and idiosyncratic history of a form that has repeatedly upset social and cultural expectations.

Exhaustively researched and rich with fresh insights, Love for Sale is unbound by the usual tropes of pop music history. Hajdu, for instance, gives a star turn to Bessie Smith and the “blues queens” of the 1920s, who brought wildly transgressive sexuality to American audience decades before rock and roll. And there is Jimmie Rodgers, a former blackface minstrel performer, who created country music from the songs of rural white and blacks . . . entwined with the sound of the Swiss yodel. And then there are today’s practitioners of Electronic Dance Music, who Hajdu celebrates for carrying the pop revolution to heretofore unimaginable frontiers. At every turn, Hajdu surprises and challenges readers to think about our most familiar art in unexpected ways.
Masterly and impassioned, authoritative and at times deeply personal, Love for Sale is a book of critical history informed by its writer's own unique history as a besotted fan and lifelong student of pop.

Over three decades, Paul Griffiths's survey has remained the definitive study of music since the Second World War; this fully revised and updated edition re-establishes Modern Music and After as the preeminent introduction to the music of our time. The disruptions of the war, and the struggles of the ensuing peace, were reflected in the music of the time: in Pierre Boulez's radical reformation of compositional technique and in John Cage's development of zen music; in Milton Babbitt's settling of the serial system and in Dmitry Shostakovich's unsettling symphonies; in Karlheinz Stockhausen's development of electronic music and in Luigi Nono's pursuit of the universally human, in Iannis Xenakis's view of music as sounding mathematics and in Luciano Berio's consideration of it as language. The initiatives of these composers and their contemporaries opened prospects that haven't yet stopped unfolding. This constant expansion of musical thinking since 1945 has left us with no singular history of music; Griffiths's study accordingly follows several different paths, showing how and why they converge and diverge. This new edition of Modern Music and After discusses not only the music of the fifteen years that have passed since the previous edition, but also the recent explosion of scholarly interest in the latter half of the twentieth century. In particular, the book has been expanded to incorporate the variety of responses to the modernist impasse experienced by composers of the 1980s and 1990s. Griffiths then moves the book into the twenty-first century as he examines such highly influential composers as Helmut Lachenmann and Salvatore Sciarrino. For its breadth, wealth of detail, and characteristic wit and clarity, the third edition of Modern Music and After is required reading for the student and the enquiring listener.
“Delightfully sophisticated . . . the only music history that can be savored, muscatel in hand, in the green shade of a beach umbrella” (John Simon, The Hudson Review).

R. J. Stove’s A Student’s Guide to Music History is a concise account, written for the intelligent lay reader, of classical music’s development from the early Middle Ages onwards. Beginning with a discussion of Hildegard von Bingen, a twelfth-century German nun and composer, and the origins of plainchant, Stove’s narrative recounts the rise (and ever-increasing complexity) of harmony during the medieval world, the differences between secular and sacred music, the glories of the contrapuntal style, and the origins of opera. Stove then relates the achievements of the high baroque period, the very different idioms that prevailed during the late eighteenth century, and the emergence of Romanticism, with its emphasis upon the artist-hero. With the late nineteenth century came a growing emphasis on musical patriotism, writes Stove, especially in Spain, Hungary, Russia, Bohemia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the United States. A final section discusses the trends that have characterized music since 1945.

Stove’s guide also singles out eminent composers for special coverage, including Palestrina, Monteverdi, Handel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Debussy, Richard Strauss, Sibelius, and Messiaen. As a brief orientation to the history and contours of classical music, A Student’s Guide to Music History is an unparalleled resource.
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