The Penguin Companion to Classical Music

Overview

In this impressive volume, music critic Paul Griffiths offers a succinct and comprehensive guide to the history, forms, and personalities of classical music. Here readers will find:

• Biographies of thousands of composers from Albinoni to Zappa, with in-depth treatment of major figures
• Coverage of individual works, including plot summaries...

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The Penguin Companion to Classical Music

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Overview

In this impressive volume, music critic Paul Griffiths offers a succinct and comprehensive guide to the history, forms, and personalities of classical music. Here readers will find:

• Biographies of thousands of composers from Albinoni to Zappa, with in-depth treatment of major figures
• Coverage of individual works, including plot summaries of operas and ballets
• Articles on the history of music and instruments
• Entries on musical forms, from medieval plainchant to z contemporary minimalism
• Clear definitions of technical terms and jargon
• And much more

This is a must for all those interested in the colorful and complex universe of classical music.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two books on classical music do not exactly cover the same territory and do not share the same purpose, but they nevertheless overlap in subject matter and partially in intent. In The Rough Guide, the 200-plus A-Z entries (up from 160 in the third edition) are arranged by composer and typically contain a short biography (often with a photograph), a discussion of the composer's oeuvre, and recommended recordings (often only one). Returning editors Staines and Clark make no attempt to be comprehensive in terms of the music; their choices reflect what they consider to be the best. The bigwigs of the past and present are all here-Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Thomas Ad s, and Kaija Saariaho-but many minor composers are not included. Scattered throughout are essays on general topics ("Tuning and Temperament"; "The Crisis of Tonality") that help orient readers to the world of classical music. In The Penguin Companion, Griffiths, the former chief music critic for The New Yorker, covers all facets of classical music, encompassing composers (some quite obscure), instruments, musical notation and theory, and performers. The several thousand entries are short, except in the cases of some major composers, who garner works lists (e.g., the Beethoven article is five pages long, with works list). Bottom Line The Rough Guide is perhaps the best general guide to mainstream classical music and selected recordings; recommended for all public libraries. Readers who want a more thoroughgoing CD buyer's guide should instead consult The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs: The Key Classical Recordings. The Penguin Companion specializes in ready-reference entries on both people and concepts, but it does not replace the fuller treatment usually afforded concepts in The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.) or people in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Nevertheless, it is an excellent resource suitable for public and academic libraries.-Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140515596
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/16/2005
  • Pages: 912
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Griffiths, former chief music critic of the New Yorker and a regular contributor to the New York Times, has been writing about music professionally for more than thirty years and is a recipient of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

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