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Thread: Who is the composer whose music writings you like the most?

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default Who is the composer whose music writings you like the most?

    Who is the composer whose music writings you like the most? I am talking about composers who wrote about music in words.

    There are a lot to chose from.

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    Berlioz is the one that springs most immediately to my mind. But, as you say, there are lots of others!

    Not all famous composers have written about music, but nearly all writers about music (past and present) have been composers, in the sense that they have composed some music. Even Bernard Shaw, assuming he "composed" the little ditty in the Epilogue to Saint Joan.

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    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Hindemith and Piston

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    Stravinsky. His collection, Poetics of Music, is very rewarding and thoughtful.

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    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    Roger Sessions. He wrote brilliantly on all aspects of music making and appreciation. I particularly admire the superb collection of essays called Roger Sessions on Music, The Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, and Listener, which is a collection of six lectures delivered at Julliard, and Questions About Music where Sessions discusses the philosophical topics of hearing, knowing, understanding, talking, and thinking about music. The book also includes two chapters on composition which discuss considerations of the composer in the actual process of writing music.
    Last edited by RICK RIEKERT; Dec-03-2020 at 13:29.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Not ranked

    Stravinsky
    Schoenberg
    Bernstein
    Cage

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Mine is Beethoven's, so far. You can find them all online for free, I believe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    Not ranked

    Stravinsky
    Schoenberg
    Bernstein
    Cage
    I endorse and second this list. I would add Aaron Copland. When I was a freshman in college, many moons ago, I was taking a class on how to write expository prose and one of the textbooks was an anthology of exemplar essays. One essay was by Aaron Copland that was called How to Listen (or How we Listen?, my memory ain't what it used to be). Anyway, I remember liking it, especially because Copland was able to explain some pretty esoteric stuff regarding music to the non-musician in a way that was warm, personable, accessible and yet not condescending to the reader.

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    Piston, Schoenberg and Copland. Bernstein was the master in talking about music (Young People's Concerts and various lectures), but I've never read any books from him. If they're half as good as his lectures, they're worth reading.

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    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    I'll put in a word for Charles Ives. Whether you agree with him or not, you're never in any doubt about what he thinks:

    "These prefatory essays were written by the composer for those who can't stand his music and the music for those who can't stand his essays; to those who can't stand either, the whole is respectfully dedicated."

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    Michael Tippett
    Ned Rorem
    Olivier Messaien
    Ernst Toch
    Alec Wilder
    R. Murray Schafer
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Dec-03-2020 at 20:56.

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    To the above, add Debussy's "M. Croche" and Virgil Thomson's collected criticism in the NY Herald Tribune.

    Also, to help out CoachG, Copland's is "What to Listen for in Music."

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    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
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    Ive enjoyed Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Debussy. All very illuminating!
    [edit] And I’ve just found a used copy on Amazon of Webern’s The Path to New Music which I read 40 years ago and which had quite an impact on me so I’m very curious to re-read it!
    Last edited by Petwhac; Dec-04-2020 at 03:47. Reason: Forgot one

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    Copland wrote a decent book about music.

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