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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 7 November 2011
The beginning of this book left me strangely flat. The first piece, a lecture Bostridge gave on the connections between witchcraft, magic and music, I found a bit disappointing. This was a surprise, as I'd been attracted to read Bostridge's book because of his intriguing background as a former academic - and not just any academic, a student of Keith Thomas no less (Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England (Penguin History)).

However, I continued to read, and enjoyed every bit of the book more and more. In the end I concluded that for me, the personal and speculative bits (which come first) are less seductive. When Bostridge writes on particular singers, writers and pieces, though, for me the book comes completely alive. I found myself listening again to Schubert sung by Fischer-Dieskau, thinking about song lyrics, pondering Bob Dylan, and then online late at night ordering three CDs by Henze, a composer I'd never even listened to.

There is a focus to Bostridge's expertise and interests; you will read a lot about lieder for obvious reasons. But his carefully argued judgements on much of the recent important literature in his field are just so enjoyable to read that I found myself staying up late to read even when I was tired. And he has sent me back to Charles RosenThe Romantic Generation (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures), who he regards almost as a god, with great joy.

Fantastic read for anyone with the slightest interest in thinking about serious music.
25 people found this helpful
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3.7 out of 5 stars