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The Joy of Music Paperback – 19 Jan 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus Press (19 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574671049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574671049
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) explores the meaning and wonder of music. In a series of "Imaginary Conversations," he addresses such topics as the greatness of Beethoven and the importance of the symphony in America. The book also contains seven transcripts from Bernstein's Omnibus television show as well as assorted b&w photographs from hi

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Top Customer Reviews

By RR Waller TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dedicated to Helen Coates, his selfless, personal assistant for fifteen years, this is typical Bernstein and the picture of the ecstatic Lennie on the front sums it up very well.

Filled with musical score illustrations of the text he begins with an introduction trying to explore what makes intelligent musical talk and dialogue before exploring in Part One: Imaginary Conversations, that very subject around Beethoven, American Symphonies and Gershwin. In Part Two: Seven Omnibus Television Transcripts, there are exactly what it said on the tin, seven transcripts of his programmes produced and directed by Humphrey Burton, Lennie at his best before an audience discussing music: Beethoven, Jazz, Conducting, Musical Comedy, MOdern Music, JS Bach and What Makes Opera Grand.

For those interested in music (of all sorts) and Bernstein this is an ideal book; at three hundred pages, it explores some difficult issues in music and shows how to talk about them. Articulate, enthusiastic, interesting, informative and detailed, the final transcripts are fascinating. If there were a DVD of the programmes tucked in a sleeve at the back, it would be perfect.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8cf6418c) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d0caa50) out of 5 stars A true Renaissance man 4 April 2004
By Tobin Sparfeld - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Bernstein excelled at everything he tried--he was a fantastic conductor, composer, and writer. From popular music from West Side Story to jazz to "serious art music" like Chichester Psalms and his Mass, Bernstein was never constrained by any seeming limitations. This book is a compilation Bernstein's writings. The first section consists of dialogues between Bernstein and several imaginary characters regarding society's philosophy of music. These discussions are quite intellectual and thought-provoking. The second section contains seven television transcripts about subjects ranging from Musical Theater to J.S. Bach. This half is much more accessible and a breeze to read. If you can't read music, you would enjoy getting CDs of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Brahms' First Symphony, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion before curling up with this book. It will enhance your enjoyment of Bernstein's exciting descriptions, and will make them come to life.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d0ca9d8) out of 5 stars Very intelligent and insightful dicussion of music. 29 May 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for those who wish to know how a
composer/conductor thinks about music. The discussion
presented is witty, intelligent and very insightful.
My only problem with the book is that it should be
accompanied by a CD or video tape. All of the
examples are presented as written music. If you
can't read and play/sing the music in the book
you will have only a vague idea of the point the
author is trying to make.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d3fd888) out of 5 stars The Joy of Music---a thorough and inspired work 24 Jan. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a complete, lucid, approachable and vibrant book. The dialogues at the beginning reveal the many facets of Bernstein's character and of his startling brilliance, and the section on modern music should not be missed. Of course, for the sections taken from his Omnibus television programs, the textual medium can only inform the reader what would be happening on screen, and those descriptions probably lack the power of audio-visual aids. It is, however, a work that any student of music, or any lover of music, would be able to take for granted in a Perfect World.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d247678) out of 5 stars Brilliant 13 April 2008
By Amneris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've had this book for a couple of decades in the original hardback version. It's a reminder to me of what I watched, live on television back in the fifties, when television had "culture." His Omnibus lectures were thrilling to behold and I wish dearly they were on dvd. His description of how perfect the Fifth was defies description; you had to have seen him use musicians as notes and move them around to show what happened if one note had changed. Or how a little discussion around a table with a man and a woman becomes something else again when sung (La Boheme) or explaining about a piece concerning a little nightengale when introducing Stravinsky.

The man was pure genious and millions of Americans became interested in classical music through this man. This teenaged girl did.
HASH(0x8d0cabc4) out of 5 stars Great book! 24 Jun. 2014
By Jonah R Buchanan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leonard Bernstein, aside from being a brilliant conductor and composer, was a dedicated educator. If you wanted a guide for how to listen to great classical music, or a discussion of the relevance of this music in an evolving artistic culture, you could do a whole lot worse.

I think, for the money, if you bought this book, and the Young People's Concerts DVD's, you might have the greatest intro to music course ever.
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