The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence

Overview

One of the finest achievements of Western culture is its brilliant heritage of classical music. A Gift of Music looks at the lives of the greatest composers who have given us this heritage, and especially at how their music was shaped by their beliefs.

The result is a remarkable and inspiring book, showing the importance of Christian faith for many composers, and the effect of this upon their music. But it also shows how the lack of faith has ...

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Overview

One of the finest achievements of Western culture is its brilliant heritage of classical music. A Gift of Music looks at the lives of the greatest composers who have given us this heritage, and especially at how their music was shaped by their beliefs.

The result is a remarkable and inspiring book, showing the importance of Christian faith for many composers, and the effect of this upon their music. But it also shows how the lack of faith has brought profound change in the meaning and form of contemporary music.

Thus A Gift of Music seeks to open up a whole new world of music—to encourage listening to the finest compositions with new understanding and pleasure, and to stretch our ears and imaginations. It is a book which will be greatly appreciated by those who already love classical music, and by others who want to explore this delightful world for the first time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891078692
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Edition description: 3rd ed
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 556,952
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

JANE STUART SMITH has sung in the major opera houses of Europe and America. She presently lives at L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, where she lectures in music.

BETTY CARLSON has studied at the Conservatory of Music in Lausanne, Switzerland, and now writes and works at L'Abri Fellowship. With Jane Stuart Smith, she coauthored Crossway's Favorite Men Hymn Writers and Favorite Women Hymn Writers.

Recognized internationally for his work in Christianity and culture, Francis A. Schaeffer authored more than twenty books, which have been translated into a score of languages and sold millions worldwide. He and his wife, Edith, founded L'Abri Fellowship international study and discipleship centers. Schaeffer passed away in 1984, but his influence and legacy continue worldwide.

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  • Posted September 2, 2011

    Pages from the History of Classical Music

    Recently, I had the chance to begin reading this book by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson. These authors wrote a very easy to read book titled Great Women Authors. It is now out of print, but it is one my favorite books. I was curious about this book because I had enjoyed their writing before. I was surprised to discover that this book is written quite differently.

    The Gift of Music includes a foreward by Francis Shaeffer, a prelude to the book, and biographies of 42 classical composers. These biographies are less personal than the biographies in Great Women Authors. In the book about women authors, Stuart and Carlson gave a personal sketch of the authors. The reader felt like they got to know them. This book about composers is much more about what they each did, how they interacted with other notable figures and developed a wholistic picture of classical music. There are a few personal details about the composers, but the biographies paint a picture of the music these men wrote and its place in the world of classical music.

    This quote at the beginning of the book made me pause,

    "There are things in the Christian world that cause us to be sad. One of these is that for many Christians classical music is a complete vacuum. This robs individual Christians and their children of one of the very rich areas of joy in this life....the chief sadnes of knowing little about classical music consists in the loss the Christian experiences in one of the areas of the affirmation of life." from the Foreward by Francis Schaeffer on page ix.

    As I read several of the biographies, I realized how little I know about classical music! I was amazed to learn how the composers mentored and influenced one another. This book is a lot like a textbook. It's what I'd call "thick" reading. It's also worthwhile reading.

    If you enjoy books like "Bonhoeffer" by Eric Metaxas or Eugene Peterson's books, you'll probably enjoy this one. You may just pick it up and read a chapter at a time. You may listen to a piece of classical music and wonder about the composer. This is not a book that needs to be read through in order or in succession. It can easily be picked up and set down. Sometimes it's nice to have books like that.

    If you, as a parent, deeply enjoy classical music and want to share more about the history of the men who have written the pieces your family listens to, this would be a great resource.

    Francis Schaeffer's statement struck a chord with me. It is a blessing and joy to savor classical music. It is also a joy that we have to cultivate in our minds and hearts by listening to and learning about classical music.

    Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher, Crossway books.

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