A-Z of Classical Music CD
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Is it a two-CD set with a particularly thick booklet, or a 562-page book with a compilation album attached? Whichever, the unpretentious text by Keith Anderson offers a basic introduction to the lives and works of dozens of composers, together with recommended recordings from the Naxos and Marco Polo catalogues. Anderson also includes a useful 59-page glossary of musical terms and an extensive listing of which classical pieces have been employed in which films. The odd thing about the 36 extracts and complete pieces on the CDs is that they do not form an A-Z at all, but are arranged chronologically, from 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant to the opening movement of contemporary composer Philip Glass's Violin Concerto. Between these two points is the early music of Palestrina and Byrd, the baroque glories of Vivaldi and Bach, the 19th-century romantic masters from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky, and such 20th-century greats as Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Opera, song and chamber music are barely represented, but there is only so much that can fit into 151 minutes. Essentially a deluxe sampler for the vast Naxos catalogue, the discs offer a good introduction to some of the most famous and melodic music ever composed, while the book will be very useful to the newcomer to the potentially confusing world of classical music. --Gary S Dalkin
Top Customer Reviews
Instead of trying to collect 'the most famous bits' Naxos have provided an overview of a thousand years of music. Composers who a few years ago would have been considered obscure (Hidegard of Bingen, von Ditterdorf) or thought too 'avant garde' (Philip Glass) are included.
After hearing it you'll be certain to want to follow up many of the composers or their contemporaries.
The massive accompanying booklet is unpretentious and hugely helpful. The performances are of Naxos' usual exemplary standard, not outstanding but never tedious or too extreme in interpretation.
Overall, and at this price, about the best introductory compilation to classical music available.
Newcomers to the world of classical music will decide which kind to explore further.If you want Charles Ives or Penderecki you won't find them here but its a surprise ommission as much as the inclusion of Hildegarde von Bingen and Philip Glass IS.Very odd as Naxos have issued both Ives and Penderecki.But then you can go on forever and include today's neo classical eg Jocelyn Pook or Sonia Slaney
Classical is too vague a description anyway as what is sometimes called concert or Art music embraces different periods from Medieaval to Avant Garde
While the 50 CD sets in the IN A CLASSICAL MOOD series are more complete-each CD has a built in picture book plus a thick loose leaf book-it might be worth adding these as well.But the trouble is so many are sold seperately in charity shops and the set in 2 huge boxes a little more difficult to come by nowadays
Most Recent Customer Reviews
CD and book arrived in good time and are as shown and described.Published 23 months ago by G. W. Hodges