A book for newcomers to Classical music, it acquaints you with the subject in several valuable ways. First, the different periods (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century) are defined and broken down. Then, significant artists of every period are defined. Then, the top 50 composers are listed, in order, beginning with Mr. Bach. Each of the 50 artists are then given a biographical sketch, an overview of their life's work, and their most significant works are highlighted. A Collectors Starter Kit follows for each of the 50, containing 5 works that provide good representation of their careers. Obviously, 5 works may seem laughable when considering Mozart, and may seem too much when considering Bizet, so expanded lists of works follow for those composers with a large body of work. Goulding treats this book as a research effort, but his personal views do come through at times (He makes it very clear that Georg Telemann and Antonio Vivaldi would NOT be among his top 50, but remain on list because they are historically important composers. In fact, in the description of Telemann you are greatly encouraged to substitute Sergei Rachmaninoff). The book ends with suggested recordings of each Starter Kit selection. This is very valuable reading prior to taking your next trip to the record store. Whether or not you choose to buy the recommended recordings, this section of the book gives you a good idea of who are the Great conductors and Orchestras, and picking a CD is easier when names like Solti, Karajan, Rubenstein, and Ashkenazy are names familiar to you. Enjoy the journey!
"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 CD's 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