The Symphony: A Listener's Guide / Edition 1

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Enriched by biographical detail, historical background, musical examples, and many finely nuanced observations, this volume is a treasury of insight and information. Readers will find illuminating discussion of the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Elgar, Sibelius, and Mahler, as well as of the most loved symphonic works of Schubert, Bruckner, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev, and others.

Enriched by biographical details, historical background, musical examples, and many finely nuanced observations, this volume is a treasury of insight and information, discussing some 118 works by 36 major composers, including generous coverage of American composers. 50 musical examples.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
The Symphony may be recommended warmly to music lovers on all levels of interest and expertise. . . . The writing is wonderfully clear, personal, and specific.
Library Journal
Critic, lecturer, and program annotator Steinberg describes 36 composers and, movement by movement, 118 symphonies, including all the standard repertory regularly programmed by North American orchestras as well as a few by less well known composers such as Gorecki, Harbison, Martinu, and Sessions. The writing varies from formal and factual to chatty, with candid asides and stories relevant to the composer, the composition, or an important performance. The information is on the level of good program notes (the origin of most of it), although reader familiarity with some basic musical technical terms is assumed. A well-written, informative introduction to the repertory for most music collections.Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
From the Publisher

"Michael Steinberg represents the gold standard of music criticism. His is a mind of immense subtelty and learning that expresses itself with generosity, humor, accessibility, and a noticeable absence of pomposity. This is a book of 1001 pleasures."--John Adams, Composer

"Michael Steinberg is one of the very few writers who can really bring a listener close to the music. He not only knows what he is talking about--and eminently so--but finds the most elegant, striking, and often surprising ways of saying it. He is a true artist who uses words, instead of bows or fingers, to articulate what he has found in the music. He is the composer's and interpreter's unfailing ally, and the listener's devoted friend. His love of music is contagious."--Herbert Blomstedt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195126655
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 824,682
  • Lexile: 1380L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Steinberg is the program annotator of the San Francisco Symphony and the New York Philharmonic and earlier served the Boston Symphony in the same capacity. He has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and the New England Conservatory, has lectured and taught widely in America and Europe, and was the music critic for The Boston Globe for twelve years.

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