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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic starting point, 4 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
As a reader almost completely new to the world of classical music I have found this book indispensable. Inteligently written it covers, not just the main eras of classical music and the composers of each era - but also includes thoughtful little essays on melody and tone. At the end of the book is a list of recommended pieces by each composer which serves as a starting point for building a classical library
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers of Classical Music and Those Just Beginning, 15 July 2010
By 
Kim Hatton "Kim Hatton" (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
If you were/are looking towards buying 'Claasical Music For Dummies' buy this instead and keep '... For Dummies' on your wish List. This is superbly written in accessible and stylish prose which never makes the reader feel patronised. Taking you through the different periods of music it also introduces many composers you may have heard of and blends aspects of their lives and times with the music and school they became associated with. More importantly it places listening and enjoying music above knowing about it but soon convinces the reader that informed listening will only increase their pleasure and set them out on journeys towards yet more music, of different schools by different composers. But if you're set on buying the Dummies guide buy this as well (as Amazon might themselves say) This will stay closer to hand for years to come I promise you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Non-Stuffy Guide for Beginners, 16 Mar. 2008
By 
Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
I bought this book quite some time ago now and regularly take it off the shelf to look something up. This is not a guide to recorded music but a great way to read about various composers and musical styles in roughly chronological order.

I would say that this book is the first choice beginners guide, and don't let either the modest price or self-effacing jacket put you off!

Written with a wry sense of humour, the author has helped me a great deal with my explorations over the last few years. Something of a twentieth-centry specialist, the author has, I believe, written a book about Brahms too.

A terrific bargain from "over the pond"!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 25 April 2011
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This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
This is a very well-written book that provides a comprehensive guide to classical music. It's perfect for a beginner who wants to acquire a solid basic grounding in the field and to be introduced to the key composers, compositions and developments. The author provides a very engaging history and commentary: lucid, venerable and professional. I could not recommend a book higher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for me, 7 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
I couldn't be more satisfied with this book.

I'm a total amateur when it comes to classical music and had not read anything else on that matter other than a few online articles. Nobody else in my family listens to classical music, but I made a habit of listening to it while working as it would help me concentrate. I've slowly acquired a taste for it but could not tell why I liked particular pieces more than others. Then I decided to buy this book. I now know better what I like and I've also been gently introduced to works from other famous composers, can start to understand their influences and as a result enjoy the music itself even more. The stories about their lives are pretty interesting too. All in all, it made me want to explore more and pay attention to detail, while thoroughly enjoying it. Needless to say, best enjoyed with some classical music in the background :)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't come much better than this, 9 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
A superb book that manages to combine the history and development of classical music with the lives of the major composers as well as going into great detail about their individual works. The fact that it is in chronological rather than alphabetical order helps one to see how music developed through the centuries and also who was contemporaneous with who.

As someone who can only just about work out the names of the notes on a stave this is the book that I never thought existed. It has explained the structure of types of composition in a way that even I can enjoy and (mostly) understand.

It's a riveting book that I'm thoroughly enjoying. I'm 3/4 of the way through and have read every page.

Although the author makes recommendations throughout the book there is a great section at the end of the book listed by composer which summarizes all the works recommended.

The only problem I've had is that it has tempted me to buy far too many CDs since I started reading it!
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The Vintage Guide to Classical Music
The Vintage Guide to Classical Music by Jan Swafford (Paperback - 15 Dec. 1992)
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