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This review is from: Music in 1853: The Biography of a Year (Hardcover)
A brilliant new approach to my favourite period in classical music: take a particular year and see what all the protagonists, such as Schumann, Brahms, Wagner and Berlioz, were up to during that year. The answer: quite a lot -- travelling, meeting, corresponding, as well as composing and conducting. And the ease of travel in those days, particularly by train, comes as a surprise. It's interesting to learn about these composers' private lives, ideas, philosophies and interaction. A shortish book but beautifully produced and well illustrated. But if you're looking for technical musical analysis, look elsewhere.