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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of Music, 16 Oct 2010
By 
Ian Miles (Oxfordshire, GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Triumph of Music: Composers, Musicians and Their Audiences, 1700 to the Present (Paperback)
An excellent, meaty but very readable account of the rise of music over the past dozen-or-so generations. For a classically-inclined, semi-pro community musician (church / chamber classical / stage-musicals) this joins up a lot of half-familiar 'dots' into a cogent cultural continuum, and it's refreshing to see a straight-faced narrative from Albinoni to Zappa. Interesting monochrome illustrations, too. Possibly not a cover-to-cover read, but extremely dippable, and it deals both thematically & chronologically with topics, so there are plenty of parallel threads.
Anyway, a welcome 'find' that I'd heartily recommend to anyone with a deep & reasonably serious commitment to the making of music in almost any form! If, like me, you consider yourself a 'good-amateur-plus' muso, perhaps across a number of strands & traditions, &/or who perhaps never quite did a formal upper academic musical qualification, this book will set a lot of piecemeal knowledge into very helpful perspective. Sparkling anecdotes along the way will also keep you reading ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and accessible but ...., 29 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Triumph of Music: Composers, Musicians and Their Audiences, 1700 to the Present (Paperback)
If you have listened to music and want to start thinking about it you may like to read this book. Professor Blanning's book is a history of composers, musicians and their audiences from 1700 until the present. The professor opts for a thematic rather than a strictly chronological approach. So we have chapters on "Places and Spaces: From Palace to Stadium" and "Technology: From Stradivarius to Stratocaster" etc. This approach in a single volume does not work for me. It does not help the understanding of the reader if you take individual developments out of their historical context and bolt them on to other related developments from different periods. It gives you breadth but you miss out on the depth. Having said that, there is a bias towards the earlier part of the period in Chapter 1 and the later part in Chapter 4, so perhaps the professor was anticipating criticisms such as these when he wrote the book. The fact that he has included a detailed chronology at the back of the book tends to confirm this.
Having said that, the professor knows his subject and writes in a way that is entertaining, informative and accessible to the general reader. There is so much of interest here. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5, where the professor describes the part played by music in the growing nationalism in Europe in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He neatly encapsulates this with a quotation from the poet Christian Schubart who wrote in 1775: "The Germans invent music, the Italians vulgarise it, the French plagiarise it and the English pay for it." Schubart was, of course a German - priceless!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic canter through music, 9 Feb 2014
By 
Mr X (Bonny wee Scotland) - See all my reviews
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A very readable and enjoyable journey through music and culture since the eighteenth century. Blanning marries an intellectual analysis of the history of music with a passion for the art form. His deconstruction of music's place in society is most effective when discussing music's relationship with nationalism, but his examination of music and technology, music and the public sphere and music and space are equally as colourfully written.
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