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From the PublisherChoice (American Library Association)
“This is a nice introduction to the career and music of Joseph Haydn. . . . One extremely positive feature of the book is the author's ability to explain in a clear fashion the complexities of musical forms. . . . Recommended.”
Catholic Library World
“This most enjoyable work attests to Haydn's religious devotion and expresses a love for the life of music as a testament to the most spiritual of all arts -- playing before the Lord in authentic love.”
-- University of Minnesota
"Calvin Stapert here provides an encounter with Joseph Haydn's life and work that is at once broad in its cultural outlook, confident in its musical explorations, and intimate in its portrayal of the composer's human experience. The music scholar will find an array of Haydn's works, both canonical and farther from the beaten path, revisited with thoughtfulness and keen musical insight. The more casual reader is guided with the gentlest hand toward a rich understanding of what made Haydn's compositional voice so uniquely significant to his era. And Stapert's own voice -- that of a consummate storyteller -- carries the tale of Haydn's remarkable life swiftly along."
-- founding artistic director of Soli Deo Gloria
"A wonderful and loving work on a great but often sidelined composer. Stapert captures Haydn's marvelous effervescence as he distills volumes of musicological detail into a manageable and enjoyable read. If one wants to explore the vast variety of opinions on Haydn written over the last two centuries, go no further. Ultimately, Stapert makes a strong case that Haydn belongs in the highest echelons of composers."
-- Smithsonian Institution
"This excellent study gives a detailed yet eminently readable survey of Haydn's life and brilliant output. . . . Stapert's analyses of important works can be appreciated by readers armed with either scores or recordings, and his glossary entries clearly explain the four dozen or so technical terms he cannot avoid employing. Playing Before the Lord makes a cogent case that, as Stapert so pithily puts it, 'listening to Haydn's music gives us cause to rejoice because it is a revelation of grace, a case in point of the way things really are.'"