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A History of American Classical Music [With CD] [Hardcover]

Barrymore Laurence Scherer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug 2007
'The History of American Classical Music' celebrates a legacy built up from Colonial times to the present, containing riches unfamiliar even to sophisticated music lovers. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, a distinguished American author, leads the reader through an enthralling history, illustrating the importance of not only renowned names, such as Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Joplin and Sousa, but also those formally in the shadows, such as William Henry Fry and Alan Hovhaness. And, of course, we even step into Broadway for that most American step-child of opera: the musical. This development, tracked largely by key composers, is set against America's tempestuous history, putting neatly into context the achievements of the time. And with the words come 2 CDs of carefully chosen music to provide a uniquely rounded representation of his field. Furthermore, the purchaser f the book is given access to a edicated website which offers even ore music to listen to, as well as other bonus material.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks; 1 Har/Com edition (Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402210671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402210679
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 15.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,433,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
In 1780 the American Revolution was at a particularly low point, with American forces defeated at the battles of Camden and Long Island, and food and pay shortages driving many troops toward mutiny. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a lot! 1 Mar 2008
Not only do you get the words (a very good INTRODUCTION) but also 2 cds with well over 2 hours of musical illustrations and examples in 'uncut' chunks (so no fading); AND free access to a dedicated website with many many more hours of full music performances.

The text is clear and aimed at the intelligent layman rather than the musician. Musical notation is avoided.

Naxos is the source of all the recordings which is a definite plus.

The real beauty though is the website - you can listen and listen again to the music in conjunction to the written word which makes it much simpler to approach the more technical of the modern works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Marvellous Project 31 Aug 2009
By Andrew C. Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The value is tremendous and I want to tell you to buy it and find out for yourself. There is an enormously researched book. There are two CDs on Naxos of American Music from Stephen Foster to Michael Torke. There is a fantastic website with hours of goodies on it. And yet I want to make a small quibble. I wish I could have got a sense of value and significance rather than the sheer width and depth of American Music. On the CDs I could have done without some of the tracks of the minorest composers. Some of the more major composers could have been represented by greater works. Bernstein, Gershwin, Cage, Leroy Anderson and Scott Joplin deserve more and better recordings on the website. In the book I could have done with some subtitling of composers names to know where I was up to. I hope this project will go on and this History become an Encyclopaedia and a Dictionary. The experience of the music is a revelation. The writer has given a tremendous insight into American music and the book has an excellent index. Buy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Comprehensive Review of American Classical Music 31 Oct 2009
By KMWalker - Published on Amazon.com
I originally got this book because I wanted to learn more about Scott Joplin's opera _Treemonisha_. I appreciated that Mr. Scherer took the time to contextualize the breadth of Joplin's work when I could find few other resources that did. That attention to the forgotten and underappreciated contributors to American music is one of the strengths and joys of the book. I have learned a great deal about composers and musicians of whom I knew little. As well, Mr. Scherer nicely explains the political, social and cultural background that helped to shape them and their music. (Surprisingly, it acted as a nice history review, reminding me of key events like the War of 1812 and showing how they were linked to other events during that time period.)

Mr. Scherer's writing style is engaging. While he clearly has a scholarly understanding of his subject, he speaks in laymen's terms with a passion for the material that cannot help but elicit an enthusiastic response. I plan to incorporate some of the music into my high school American Lit classes. I'd like to give my students a broader understanding of the periods that we study. Overall, this is a great resource, and I'm glad that it's a part of my library.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy to read History of American Classical Music. 14 Oct 2013
By just an efriend - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just buy it. I sampled it on my new Kindle (an old used Kindle). I was immediately thrilled that the content was organized, well-written, offered a clear timeline for events, and humorous asides that only enhance this work.

The author offers a clear writing style with historical events that shaped the artistic moment of a composer's life. Thoughtful and a find edition to my music book collection. I will likely purchase the hard copy...because it deserves a firm place on any musician's bookshelf.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 4 July 2014
By MauryK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A fine summary with excellent illustrative tracks on the CD and online.
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