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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In spite of faults, it's the best on the subject., 30 July 1999
By A Customer
This is pretty obviously THE book on music in the second half of this century. My own copy's pages are much thumbed, and I've used Griffith's desciptions as a guide to build my CD collection. The glaring omission (there was bound to be one at least) is Lutoslawski, one of the century's greatest and most enjoyable composers, who gets barely a mention. To Griffith's great credit, on the other hand, is his championing of Barraque, who's sometimes not even mentioned in other histories. Finally, though I think Griffiths is right to devote so much space to the big theoretical composers (Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage, Babbitt) he sometimes forgets that their music isn't always the best (Cage is barely a composer at all--more of a philosopher who makes his point with sound-events). Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maitre, for instance, is given too much prominence--it sounds really dated now (listening to it, you can just about see the Beatnicks clicking appreciatively, wearing their black berets), while the great music of Lutoslawski or Dutilleux, for instance, is barely discussed because it's less theoretically advanced. Still, Griffiths' descriptions and explanations are about as good as anyone could hope for, and the overemphases and omissions I mentioned are inevitable in writing a history like this. Like I said, this is still THE book on the subject.
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Modern Music and After
Modern Music and After by Paul Griffiths (Paperback - 3 Mar 2011)
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