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5.0 out of 5 stars Like all such books the CD choices are personal
I come back to consult this book again and again. Like all such books the CD choices are personal, but I've come to trust the Rough Guide over the years. They apply the same rigour as they do to the travel books - and indeed they treat music as the journey that it is. I like that they don't just give you the best recordings but also the "nearly best" as well as...
Published 7 days ago by Giles Christian

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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rough Guide to Classical Music
Very good classical music book if you haven't got a previous issue. Hardly any new reviews from the 4th addition!
Published on 9 Oct 2010 by Steve from Rivendell


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5.0 out of 5 stars Like all such books the CD choices are personal, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
I come back to consult this book again and again. Like all such books the CD choices are personal, but I've come to trust the Rough Guide over the years. They apply the same rigour as they do to the travel books - and indeed they treat music as the journey that it is. I like that they don't just give you the best recordings but also the "nearly best" as well as the ones to avoid. Sadly RG have hinted that they won't be publishing their music guides any more, having dropped the long awaited Vol 3 of their World Music Guides. So grab this while it is still in print - it will become a lifelong companion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for music lovers, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
A comprehensive and clearly written text on composers across the classical spectrum. It is amazingly complete. Good for the knowledgeable and the beginner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, 7 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
A good survey of classical music. Unfortunately can't cover everything - if you want more detail of a major composer's works then you'll have to read a book dedicated just to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough and authoritative guide to classical music, 1 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
This is an excellent reference book for anyone who has an interest in music, especially someone who loves classical music but is not a musician. It makes concerts and recordings much more enjoyable to know the background of the composers and their music - this book provides it in a very readable way, which is neither too technical nor patronising. It compliments admirably any CD collection, listening to the radio or going to live concerts.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some inexplicable omissions, 12 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
This has always been an excellent introductory guide to classical music, and its CD recommendations are usually pretty reliable as well. But the book is now in its 5th edition, and has changed little over the years, so if you already have an earlier edition there is little reason to buy the new one. It is a pity that the editors have missed the opportunity to update the book and rectify important omissions from the earlier editions.

In general, too much space is devoted to 'early music' by composers who wrote comparatively little music, at the expense of 20th century composers who made genuinely important contributions to the development of classical music. In some cases, this is understandable - it would be odd, for example, if a book of this kind did not cover a figure as historically important as Hildegard von Bingen. But the pre-occupation with early music is over-done, and the omission of composers as important and prolific as John Ireland and Herbert Howells, for example, is completely inexplicable. It's a missed opportunity, because anyone who enjoys Ravel and Debussy, for example, is almost certainly going to enjoy Ireland's superb repertoire of piano music (if its existence is brought to their attention). Likewise, anyone who enjoys Vaughan Williams is likely to enjoy Howells' elegaic orchestral music. This is not special pleading by someone with very specialist tastes. These British composers, and others like Finzi and Rubbra, were really substantial figures whose music was celebrated by leading conductors of the day such as Barbirolli. Moreover, there are numerous excellent modern recordings of their work on labels such as Naxos and Chandos. To find them written out of history in this way is simply inexcusable.

In short, if you already have an earlier edition of this book, there is no point in buying a later edition until the editors get their act together and correct these oversights.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rough Guide to Classical Music, 9 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
Very good classical music book if you haven't got a previous issue. Hardly any new reviews from the 4th addition!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classical music, 11 April 2014
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This was bought as a gift fir my daughter, as she asked for it I am sure she will be pleased with it
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars misguided me revisited, 11 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Classical Music (Paperback)
my ordering of this book illustrates the limitations of on-line shopping. i was looking for an historical overview of classical music from which day the 'intelligent designer' gave the world music to how to download music from sites like amazon. perhaps there is no such book but this certainly isn't it. after a three page chronological list of composers from hildegarde of bingen to thomas ades the coverage then becomes alphabetical. i really wanted to learn composers' relationship to each other in the development/evolution of classical music not where i would find them in a school register or telephone directory. if i had browsed in a real book shop, i would have realised that this wasn't the format i was looking for. in the same order with this book i received a cd, half of which i already had. an absence of play lists on amazon has meant this has occurred a few times. i try to rely on the many very well-informed and insightful comments from other users but i realise i must brush up my on-line shopping searches. ironically, another cd in the same order had a booklet that gave virtually word for word the same info on the composer as is given in this book. finally the back cover promises advice on how to download but in fact it tells me less than i have been told in shops that sell mp3 players. ok, i'm thick, it's like me and maths, or trying to explain the off-side rule to someone, but it indicates how superficial the book is to my needs.
it is very pleasantly written, not patronising or dogmatic, but as the irish say, if i was going where i had hoped i was going i wouldn't have set off from here, sorry !
update - two months on i have found this book far more useful than my snide first reaction above justified. the book is very easy to use, large and floppy (like me !) it has the composer's names printed on the side of the page instead of at the top. by holding the spine of the book i can easily skim through the entire list like scrolling my contacts on my mobile. try that with a telephone directory. the contents are sympathetic and enlightening and have led me to lateral reading that has opened me up to, for instance, stravinsky beyond 'rites of spring' and and prokofiev beyond ' romeo and juliet'. so, to rephrase my closing remark above, as a novice in classical disc collecting i would 'start out from here '. another sorry !
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