Classical Music 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music

Overview

The author who has taught tens of thousands of people to love opera now introduces readers to the rich and soul-stirring world of classical music.

For anyone who is aching to discover classical music, this comprehensive and accessible book is the ideal teacher. Writing in the clear and highly entertaining prose that made Opera 101 the standard text in its field, Fred Plotkin—music expert, teacher, lecturer, and famous author—presents classical ...

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Overview

The author who has taught tens of thousands of people to love opera now introduces readers to the rich and soul-stirring world of classical music.

For anyone who is aching to discover classical music, this comprehensive and accessible book is the ideal teacher. Writing in the clear and highly entertaining prose that made Opera 101 the standard text in its field, Fred Plotkin—music expert, teacher, lecturer, and famous author—presents classical music in a way that respects both the reader and the art form. In Classical Music 101:

  • The reader will discover how to become an expert listener, which is essential for learning to love classical music.
  • A thousand years of music are explored, with emphasis on great works in all styles. Significant composers will be profiled in depth, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and many more.
  • Important musicians, such as pianist Emanuel Ax, singer Marilyn Horne, and conductor James Levine, speak about their art in interviews.
Classical Music 101, the newest addition to a highly successful series intended for readers who don't consider themselves dummies or idiots, will help the person drawn to the finer things in life (and readers who don't know how to approach them) discover the glories of music.
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Editorial Reviews

Timeout Magazine
His insights and techniques are sound.
Library Journal
The latest of many introductory books on Western classical music, Plotkin's is a fine addition to the genre, though some may prefer Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon's more traditionally organized Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music or Michael Walsh's hilarious and opinionated Who's Afraid of Classical Music? While most such books are at least partially chronological, Plotkin's revolves almost entirely around the orchestra's instruments and the listening experience. He presents material as coursework, and his strictures about really listening (as opposed to mere "hearing") are well taken and certainly apply to all kinds of music. A valuable feature are the interviews with classical musicians interspersed throughout. One weakness is that opera is not significantly treated, perhaps because Plotkin covered that ground in an earlier book, Opera 101: A Guide to Learning and Loving Opera. The discography is organized by chapter rather than composer (which makes it a bit awkward to use as a stand-alone source), but it is superior to the one in the Idiot's Guide. Recommended for libraries desiring an up-to-date and informative general introduction to classical music. Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786886272
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/18/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 684
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred Plotkin is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, which is the standard text in North American for discovering the glories of opera. He writes for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Opera News, Das Opernglas, and Gourmet. He lectures on music for leading institutions, including Columbia University, the Juilliard School, and the Smithsonian. Plotkin is a popular guest on the intermission features of the Chevron Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and many shows on National Public Radio. An expert on Italy, he has written five definitive books on Italian food and wine.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments XI
1. First Hearing: Developing Your Listening Skills 1
2. Making Music 11
3. Some Thoughts on the Recordings Used in Classical Music 101 33
4. The Voices of the Orchestra 45
5. Colors and Pictures: More Thoughts About Listening 109
6. Second Hearing: Beethoven's Seventh Symphony 145
7. Theory, and Practice 161
8. The Symphony 181
A Conversation with James Levine 191
9. Attending a Live Performance 243
10. The Piano 281
A Conversation with Emanuel Ax 310
11. The Violin 337
A Conversation with Joshua Bell 344
12. Stringing Along: Music for Viola, Cello, and Double Bass 367
13. The Woodwinds 379
14. The Brass Family 391
15. The Percussion: Bells, Whistles, Thunder, and a Beating Heart 399
16. Early Music: From These Roots 409
17. The Singer's Art: Lieder and Vocal Music 421
A Conversation with Marilyn Horne 452
18. Lift Every Voice: Music with Chorus 477
19. Feeling Music: Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 507
20. Mount Olympus and Elysian Fields: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony 519
21. Coda: Some Final Notes 529
Discography for Classical Music 101 541
Resources for the Classical Music Lover 563
Traveling to Hear Classical Music: Concert Halls and Theaters Around the World 569
Index 647
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