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Oxford History of Western Music: (5 Vol set) [Paperback]

Richard Taruskin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 90.00
Price: 87.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Aug 2009
The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age.

Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices.

Frequently Bought Together

Oxford History of Western Music: (5 Vol set) + Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + A Guide to Musical Analysis
Price For All Three: 114.90

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Product details

  • Paperback: 3856 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195386302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195386301
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 26.4 x 38.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This monumental, nearly 4,000-page history from one of today's outstanding musicologists deserves a place on everybody's shelf. (Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music)

The discounted price represents extraordinarily good value for what I would happily recommend as book of the decade. (Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music)

Book of the decade. (Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music.)

This monumental 4,000 page history from one of today's outstanding musicologists deserves a place on everybody's shelf. (Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music)

Marvellously awash with judicious reflection on the latest scholarship...a compelling easy-to-read narrative. (The Economist)

About the Author

Richard Taruskin is professor of musicology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to this work, Taruskin is also the author of such books as Music in the Western World: A History in Documents (1985), Text & Act (OUP, 1995), and Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (1996). He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, New Republic, and many other scholarly journals.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable 14 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
I have always been a fan of Taruskin's writing. He balances enormous erudition with a sense of what it means to make music and to be moved by it, so while he has all the tools to analyze and be theoretical when he needs them, it's only ever in the service of meaningful understanding. 'Text and Act' and 'Defining Russia Musically' are two of my favourite books, and ones which I recommend constantly to others.

I hadn't expected this History to be such a darned good read: I started with the 19th century because that's where my specialization takes me, and I was hooked from the first page, to the extent that I now have to ration myself. He writes so clearly and so engagingly, that it's more like reading a thriller than a history book. It's a wonderfully well-balanced book: his style is friendly, explanatory, humorous. But if you want it, there's deep musical analysis with examples. It's like Alex Ross's 'The Rest of Noise' but for a mixed audience of scholars, music lovers, children, whoever - it works on several levels at once, and you can choose (as I sometimes do) to leave out the more analytical/theoretical stuff and just enjoy the story.

As a ballet specialist myself, I am grateful to Taruskin for writing one of the only mainstream chapters on ballet music in the early 20th century volume. I happened to see that chapter browsing in a bookshop and instantly bought the book. At 45 for the whole set, this has to be one of the best bargains in the world of books, so I just went to Amazon and bought the rest. Now I've got the other volumes, I can't put them down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect set for university Music students. 22 April 2012
By Helen
Format:Paperback
I am studying a Music degree at Bristol and this is the perfect set of books for referring to during the course and when writing essays. Better value than anywhere else, as well!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars taruskin oxford history 26 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself does not need any more positive reviews. All praise already has been written and it's well deserved. The purchase was very smooth and quick, and the price is amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taruskin 15 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most complete work that I ever seen of History of Western Music.
One amazing work of Taruskin! No words to describe!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuoso writing 29 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
This is an amazing achievement. Richard Taruskin has profound knowledge of seemingly everything, and is able to communicate his extraordinary insights in a way that actually makes for exciting reading! Some of his concerns are transversally applied, in revealing ways, to different times and subjects, resulting in a very coherent and convincing view of the whole. His ongoing investigations into the history of Modernity are, finally, pulling some important bits of OUR history out of the intense 20th century political wars: invaluable revelations inside our own received wisdom.
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