Author Topic: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering  (Read 35975 times)

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Offline E d o

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2007, 06:25:49 AM »
Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris was well received when it came out. I've been meaning to pick it up. Has anyone read it?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 06:28:47 AM by E d o »

Offline henry

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2007, 06:50:10 AM »
Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris was well received when it came out. I've been meaning to pick it up. Has anyone read it?


I have read it, and I didn't like it.  I would like to recommend the biographies by Solomon or Lockwood, they contain all the information the Morris one offers, plus much more.

karlhenning

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2007, 06:52:16 AM »
I have read it, and I didn't like it.

I started leafing through it, and couldn't bother to finish it.

Offline henry

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2007, 06:55:28 AM »
Oh, I hope not!

Playing armchair behavioral analyst is quite the fad in biography these days.

One reason I like Swafford's book on Brahms is that it reads almost like a novel, it portrays the character like an ordinary human being, unlike Solomon's book on Beethoven which has a lot of psychoanalysis and can be overwhelming sometimes.

Offline Anne

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2007, 06:57:45 AM »
This is the best book I've read on classical musicians:




This book was responsible for me finally learning to like Brahms.  I recommend it very much.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 04:38:17 PM by Anne »

Offline johnshade

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2007, 09:10:52 AM »


A thorough analysis of the fifteen operas of Richard Strauss.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 09:13:58 AM by johnshade »
The sun's a thief, and with her great attraction robs the vast sea, the moon's an arrant thief, and her pale fire she snatches from the sun  (Shakespeare)

Online Papy Oli

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2007, 12:44:27 PM »
I'm not sure what you're looking for, really. Just any books on classical music? The responses you're getting are as scattershot and miscellaneous as the question. Are you looking for biographies or studies on individual composers; general works on music history and aesthetics; discussions of particular musical periods, genres, or works; books on music theory? And what is your background in classical music, so we know what level of understanding you have in order to pitch our recommendations?

I have about 150-200 books on classical music in my personal library. Many are very good. A few suck. I don't know what to recommend to you without knowing more about you to start with.

Hi Larry,

I didn't create this topic to be specifically about my original request. I thought such a topic might be of use to many, regardless of their level/knowledge or individual interests on the matter.

However, maybe my original post was indeed unclear on what I look for, so here goes :

- where i am at :
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1252.0.html

- level of musical theory knowledge : very little.

- Only classical book so far : "All Music Guide To Classical Music"

- Book subjects i'd like to find  :

*General history of composers and their historical context (more as an overview to start with, hence the book mentionned in my OP)
*1st approach on how to listen to classical music (ordered the Aaron Copeland's "What to listen for in Music" to cover that angle).
*A book about Mahler and more specifically his symphonies, so the David Hurwitz's might be the right one for my need, given the feedback given above.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. :)
Olivier

Offline andy

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2007, 01:04:06 PM »
I've read these two biographies of Ligeti





The Toop book was a quick easy read, but it didn't go into nearly enough musical details for me. If you just want an overview of Ligeti and his works, that's the one to read though. The Steinitz book went into much more detail about Ligeti's music. The section on his Etudes is especially good. I recommend it if you're interested in how Ligeti constructed his music from a high-level point of view.

I've also read this biography of Messiaen



It's good, but not what I was looking for. It's VERY detailed, following Messiaen's life at a very detailed level, sometimes day by day, and they provide very little discussion of Messiaen's works themselves. That's not what I wanted at all... can anyone recommend a book that analysizes Messiaen's work?? Something pretty high-level, like a dozen pages per major work, not a hundred page dissertation on just one work.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2007, 01:10:43 PM »
I've also read this biography of Messiaen



It's good, but not what I was looking for. It's VERY detailed, following Messiaen's life at a very detailed level, sometimes day by day, and they provide very little discussion of Messiaen's works themselves. That's not what I wanted at all... can anyone recommend a book that analysizes Messiaen's work?? Something pretty high-level, like a dozen pages per major work, not a hundred page dissertation on just one work.

Robert Sherlaw Johnson's book pretty much meets those criteria.

Offline not edward

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2007, 04:27:25 PM »
Robert Sherlaw Johnson's book pretty much meets those criteria.
Did he ever revise it to cover the works from Messiaen's last ten years or so? I have an edition that stops at about Petite esquisses d'oiseaux.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline andy

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2007, 05:22:11 PM »
Robert Sherlaw Johnson's book pretty much meets those criteria.

Thanks! I just reserved it from the library... can't wait to start reading it tomorrow.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2007, 05:50:51 PM »
Hi Larry,

I didn't create this topic to be specifically about my original request. I thought such a topic might be of use to many, regardless of their level/knowledge or individual interests on the matter.

However, maybe my original post was indeed unclear on what I look for, so here goes :

- where i am at :
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1252.0.html

- level of musical theory knowledge : very little.

- Only classical book so far : "All Music Guide To Classical Music"

- Book subjects i'd like to find  :

*General history of composers and their historical context (more as an overview to start with, hence the book mentionned in my OP)
*1st approach on how to listen to classical music (ordered the Aaron Copeland's "What to listen for in Music" to cover that angle).
*A book about Mahler and more specifically his symphonies, so the David Hurwitz's might be the right one for my need, given the feedback given above.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. :)


I see. Perhaps I mistook your original intent, while everyone else got it. Nonetheless, I could easily list 50-60 books I could recommend at any number of levels. That's more than I have the patience to do, so I'll start by answering your direct request:

*General history of composers and their historical context (more as an overview to start with, hence the book mentionned in my OP)

- Carter Harman, A Popular History of Music
- Janson and Kerman, A History of Art and Music

*1st approach on how to listen to classical music (ordered the Aaron Copeland's "What to listen for in Music" to cover that angle).

- Copland is all right, pretty elementary, but could suit your needs on that basis. A more interesting book is Roger Sessions's The Musicla Experience of Composer, Performer, and Listener.

*A book about Mahler and more specifically his symphonies, so the David Hurwitz's might be the right one for my need, given the feedback given above.

- Don't know Hurwitz. For a brief biography, I like Jonathan Carr. For discussions of the symphonies, I like the essays in Michael Steinberg's The Symphony.

Online Papy Oli

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2007, 09:19:52 PM »
I see. Perhaps I mistook your original intent, while everyone else got it. Nonetheless, I could easily list 50-60 books I could recommend at any number of levels. That's more than I have the patience to do, so I'll start by answering your direct request:

*General history of composers and their historical context (more as an overview to start with, hence the book mentionned in my OP)

- Carter Harman, A Popular History of Music
- Janson and Kerman, A History of Art and Music

*1st approach on how to listen to classical music (ordered the Aaron Copeland's "What to listen for in Music" to cover that angle).

- Copland is all right, pretty elementary, but could suit your needs on that basis. A more interesting book is Roger Sessions's The Musicla Experience of Composer, Performer, and Listener.

*A book about Mahler and more specifically his symphonies, so the David Hurwitz's might be the right one for my need, given the feedback given above.

- Don't know Hurwitz. For a brief biography, I like Jonathan Carr. For discussions of the symphonies, I like the essays in Michael Steinberg's The Symphony.

Thanks Larry, I'll look these suggestions up !
Olivier

Offline Brian

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2007, 07:25:38 PM »
Dvorak

http://www.amazon.com/Dvorak-Romantic-Versatile-Unlocking-Masters/dp/1574671073/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4456605-3214401?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180955008&sr=1-1

  :o  GOODNESS the CDs that come with that book are extraordinary! It's not merely a sampler of the best of Dvorak ... it's a sampler from Supraphon, with the Czech Trio, the Panocha Quartet, a Slavonic Dance from Sejna, a tone poem and symphony extracts from Neumann, and some odds and ends from Belohlavek and Mackerras. Zoinks!

Regrettably it seems that the Tchaikovsky book comes with extracts taken from the Naxos catalog (the label's old Tchaikovsky recordings are pretty generally awful), but Hurwitz' new Sibelius book includes two complete symphonies from the Segerstam cycle!

Now excuse me while I make a few purchases...

mahlertitan

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2007, 07:50:43 PM »
Robert Simpson's "The Essence of Bruckner"

Offline Anne

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2007, 09:06:20 PM »
This thread should have a pin in it so it will always stay at the top of the BB.

Offline gmstudio

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2007, 09:48:50 PM »
Another vote for the David Hurwitz books.  I've read the Mahler, Haydn and Shostakovich ones, and I have Sibelius on order.

For something completely different, see if you can find a copy (now OOP) of "Ring Resounding" by John Culshaw.   Culshaw was the producer of Solti's Ring cycle on Decca and the book details those sessions.   As a Wagner-loving, recording studio-owning geek, I found it fascinating.  It's a revealing look at how these recordings get made.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2007, 10:54:37 PM »
I just got the "Cambridge History of Western Music Theory", bought it used for a song (relatively) on amazon.uk and a kind friend brought it over from England.

ZB
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uffeviking

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2007, 06:59:34 AM »
Let's try it again! Maybe if I list the entire link, not only the one leading to the Google video of Alex Ross talking about his book, it will get some attention. Ross is the music critic of The New Yorker magazine and many of his essays have been posted here, receiving not only attention, but enthusiastic praise. He starts this video by playing short samples of music through the centuries, very amusing!

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2007/10/alex-does-googl.html


Kullervo

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Re: Books on Classical Music : Recommending / Considering
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2007, 08:00:13 AM »
I don't often read books on music, but I like this one:



The first half is dedicated to essays by late 19th/early 20th Century composers and includes a few famous writings (e.g. Busoni's Aesthetics of a New Music), while the second half is relegated to mostly American composers active at the time of publication (early 60s IIRC) and even has a few pieces that were written specifically for this collection.

It seems to be pretty widespread and you can probably pick it up from your library.