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Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works

Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works [Kindle Edition]

Phil G. Goulding
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

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 CDs 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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2588 KB
  • Print Length: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (16 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,951 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your second book of classical music 5 Sep 1996
By A Customer
This book is a small treasure, especialy if you are appreciating classical music but want to learn more about it. The book tells the intriguing life stories of 50 composers (some would argue if all are realy 'great', but everybody will find some of their liking) and recommends various levels of building a classical library (starting with 5 recordings and up to 20 recommended recording - hence the title reference to 1000 recording). You can use the book to find more composers you may like, more recordings of your favourite composers or just as a good reading book. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Informative 14 Jan 2011
If you are looking for one book to introduce you to the wide and varied world of classical music with all its eccentric characters, then look no further. The top 50 list he produces is a subjective one, but the author is quite clear about this and offers many alternatives as well as giving a comprehensive summary of many he did not include in the Big 50.

The most useful aspect of this book, in my opinion, is the list of suggested material for each composer and the author's comments on that material. Goulding does an excellent job in maintaining a balance between his own musical tastes, those of the musical establishment and enthusiasts for particular composers. He uses an anecdotal writing style that makes the bulk of the book more easily digestable and entertaining. In summary, this is a book full of personality that manages to be jam packed full of information nonetheless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and helpful intro to classical music 5 Nov 2011
For someone like me who started reading with a fairly minimal knowledge of classical music this book is a fine introduction to the subject, written with not a little humour. The author provocatively ranks his top fifty composers, placing some weighting on their contribution to classical music development as well as the quality of their own musical output, finding no room for Rachmaninov and Elgar among others, which must appall some Classic FM listeners. I am hardly qualified to question his ranking but would have been interested in an introduction to the top one hundred rather than the top fifty. But this is a small point-a huge amount of information is crammed into this book in a readily accessible and readable format. It whet my appetite for a developing interest and I would commend it highly to novices in the field.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life! 18 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I bought this book back in 1993 because I always loved classical music but knew very little about it. I cannot say enough good things about Goulding's work. The book is funny and well-written, but more importantly well-thought-out. It is is extremely useful and highly, highly recommended for someone who wants to learn about classical music and build a collection. (FYI: As for the previous comment about Rachmoninoff, he is actually in the book, although not listed as a Top 50 in terms of importance and greatness. Goulding apparently agonized over this decision and includes a very funny section about it.)
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