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Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works

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Overview

MAKE A SOUND INVESTMENT IN CLASSICAL MUSIC
Who are the ten most important classical composers? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which five of each important composer's works should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata?
Maybe you don't know the answers to these questions; author Phil Goulding certainly didn't. When Goulding first tried to learn about classical music,...
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Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works

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Overview

MAKE A SOUND INVESTMENT IN CLASSICAL MUSIC
Who are the ten most important classical composers? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which five of each important composer's works should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata?
Maybe you don't know the answers to these questions; author Phil Goulding certainly didn't. When Goulding first tried to learn about classical music, he found himself buried in an avalanche of technical terms and complicated jargon--so he decided to write the book he couldn't find.
The result is a complete classical music education in one volume. Comprehensive, discriminating, and delightfully irreverent, Classical Music provides such essential information as:
* Rankings of the top 50 composers (Bach is #1. Borodin is #50)
* A detailed and anecdotal look at each composer's life and work
* The five primary works of each composer and specific recommended CDs for each.
* Further great works of each composer--if you really like him
* Concise explanations of musical terminology, forms, and periods
* A guide to the parts and history of the symphony orchestra
"This book uses every conceivable gimmick to immerse readers in the richness of classical music: lists, rankings, sidebars devoted to lively anecdotes, and catchy leads."
--The Washington Post
"One terrific music appreciation book...The information is surprisingly detailed but concisely presented. Goulding's writing style is breezy yet mature....[He] has raised music appreciation from a racket to a service."
--The Arizona Daily Star

From Bach to Mozart to Wagner, this comprehensive, opinionated, one-volume guide ranks the top 50 classical composers, provides a detailed and anecdotal look at the life of each, and analyzes five essential works of each composer. Goulding offers specific recommendations for the best CDs, concise explanations of music terms, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The dogmatic title of this book is enough to raise the hackles of any music lover. That's unfortunate, because this is a well-designed primer on music for the intelligent but uninformed listener of any age. At 63, Goulding, a Washington newspaper journalist who moved to high government and business posts in defense and oil, attempted to learn something about classical music. Amazingly, he found no helpful sources for the adult absolute beginner. Ten years later, he presents this book for those in the same quandary. The user-friendly format features charts, pictures, and sidebars, simple explanations of musical terms, and descriptions of instruments. The writing flows easily, and the text is readable and browsable. There is nothing new here, but Goulding has done his homework carefully and thoroughly. Recommended for the curious but illiterate music lover.-- Philippa Kiraly, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449910429
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 635
  • Sales rank: 492,137
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. I The 50 Composers and the Also-Rans 1
Ch. II The Organization of Sound 26
Ch. III Setting the Stage 42
Ch. IV The Lives and the Works 96
Johann Sebastian Bach 96
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 115
Ludwig van Beethoven 131
Richard Wagner 145
Franz Joseph Haydn 157
Johannes Brahms 168
Franz Schubert 179
Robert Schumann 189
George Frideric Handel 200
Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky 210
Felix Mendelssohn 220
Antonin Dvorak 231
Franz Liszt 241
Frederic Chopin 250
Igor Stravinsky 259
Giuseppe Verdi 269
Gustav Mahler 278
Sergei Prokofiev 288
Dmitri Shostakovich 298
Richard Strauss 308
Hector Berlioz 318
Claude Debussy 330
Giacomo Puccini 339
Giovanni da Palestrina 345
Anton Bruckner 352
Georg Telemann 361
Camille Saint-Saens 368
Jean Sibelius 375
Maurice Ravel 383
Gioacchino Rossini 390
Edvard Grieg 398
Christoph Gluck 406
Paul Hindemith 413
Claudio Monteverdi 421
Bela Bartok 427
Cesar Franck 434
Antonio Vivaldi 441
Georges Bizet 449
Modest Mussorgsky 456
Jean-Philippe Rameau 465
Gabriel Faure 472
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 479
Gaetano Donizetti 487
Ralph Vaughan Williams 493
Bedrich Smetana 501
Johann Strauss 508
Karl Maria Von Weber 515
Leos Janacek 522
Francois Couperin 529
Alexander Borodin 535
Ch. V The Orchestra 542
Ch. VI Compact-Disc Discography 579
Index 621
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2013

    This is an excellent primer, full of a comprehensive range of in

    This is an excellent primer, full of a comprehensive range of information about the best-known composers and the music they created. Something to learn for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book makes reading about classical music a joy instead of a chore. It's great to have all this information in one place.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Good Book to Read to Gain Knowledge of Composers

    In college, I took Intro to Music as my humanities elective. For this course, we used this book. It's a good book to read for your own enjoyment to learn more about classical composers, but it's not a good book for a college course. This book has helped me to learn more about composers and appreciate classical music more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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