this book goes with starkeys excellent documentary series about British monarchs and their relationship with and use of music during their reigns. As always starkey has produced a well written very informative and enjoyable book. The documentary series is definitely worth buying as well
David Starkey and Katie Greening have collaborated to bring the English monarchy into harmony with history. The pace of the narrative reads quickly, the characterization of the various monarchs and composers are fleshed out to human proportion and the vocabulary is pitched to a wide range of readers so that both scholars and layman alike can enjoy the performances, be they concerts for worship, war, theatre, or ceremony.
England can be proud as a nation that most of our monarchs have been musically literate and treated music as an art form that commemorates their own achievements, music being the only art that transports nations across time zones. The most important message in the book is the very last page or so when the present plight of music is discussed, giving HRH the Prince of Wales the baton to pass on to future composers, to commission new work for the crown. Since Prince Charles is the only member of the royal family with any interest in serious music, the authors are hopeful that this next generation of young composers will not have to wait much longer to have new and innovative concerts commissioned by the court..
This item was purchased for my wife, however, I have inspected the DVD's (which were described as virtually new (not the words used). I have to agree with the description. The item was an excellent price for a very fine series well done and thank you for the prompt delivery.
This book has been absolutely brilliant: well written and easy to read. Much like the TV series (which was itself one of the best shows I've seen for a while) this is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in either history or music, or both!
A very good book, not too tough to read yet very informative in relating the composers to the monarchy and circumstances of the time. As always, rather tough to see the illustrations on a kindle, in fact, I wish I had bought the physical book in order to be able to use it as reference more easily.
I love everything Starkey does and this book - and indeed the TV series is no exception. However....it is quite astonishing that the most heavily documented relationship between a British composer and a monarch gets only a slighting namecheck - the fact tha the programme stops at Vaugham Williams and does not go on into the 1970s with Elizabeth and Benjamin Britten is beyond comprehension. I note that Starkey regards Purcell and not Britten as the greatest ever English composer. This is regretably incorrect. Benjamin Britten was incomparably greater to even Purcell ( who I also admire) but Britten's relations and many, many royal commissions and dedicated works should not have been omitted by this otherwise great programme.