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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Recommended books- Listed by Category!

With gratitude to vertciel, thanks for a key concept to Kurkikohtaus, and special appreciation to all who have recommended music books, a listing of such books will be preserved on the opening page of the thread. Almost without exception, listed books also have a link-back to the post where they were recommended. We will update this list periodically. Furthermore, if anyone is aware of book recommendations in other threads that ought to merit mention in this collation, you may contact us (preferably via Private Message) so that we may perform the necessary edits, if desired.

1. Music Appreciation & Survey Texts:

History of Western Music/Grout david johnson
The Enjoyment of Music/Machlis & Forney
Classical Music A New Way of Listening/Waugh
The Continuity of Music/Kolodin Hexameron
The Joy of Music/Bernstein Hexameron/groovesandwich
What to Listen for in Music/Copland Hexameron/kxgfxg/Hazel
101 Masterpieces of Music & Their Composers/Bookspan BuddhaBandit
Concise History of Western Music/Griffiths bartleby
Classical Music (Eyewitness Companions)/Burrows Rachovsky
The Encyclopedia of Music/Wade-Matthews opus67
Classical Music 50 Greatest composers-1000 Greatest Works/Goulding StlukesguildOhio/lou/Vesteralen
Essays in Musical Analysis (6 vols.)/Tovey Private recommendation- anonymous contributor
Oxford History of Western Music/Taruskin emiellucifuge
The Language of Music/Cooke jalex

2. Composer-specific Tomes:

Sibelius (in four volumes)/Tawaststjerna
Symphonic Unity The development of formal thinking in the symphonies of Sibelius/Murtomaki Kurkikohtaus
The Essence of Bruckner/Simpson Gustav
Beethoven- Impressions by his Contemporaries/Sonneck
Evening in the Palace of Reason Bach meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment/Gaines
Schumann on Music: A selection from his writings Hexameron
Johannes Brahms: A Biography/Swafford World Violist/kg4fxg/Hausmusik
Beethoven/Sullivan bartleby
Aspects of Wagner/Macgee
The New Grove Wagner/Millington
Wagner's Ring A listener's companion & concordance/Holman
I Saw the World End A study of Wagner's Ring/Cooke
The Wagner Operas/E. Newman Chi_townPhilly
Edward Elgar: Memories of a Variation/Powell
Edward Elgar: Record of a Friendship/Burley
Elgar in Love/Hockman & Allen Elgarian
Mahler: His Life, Work, and World/Blaukopf
Chopin's Funeral/Eisler Isola
Robert Schumann Herald of a new poetic age/Daverio Artemis
A Companion to Beethoven's Pianoforte Sonatas/Tovey Private recommendation- anonymous contributor
Mozart in Vienna 1781-1791/Braunbehrens Elgarian
Mozart & His Operas/Cairns Kieran
Beethoven/Solomon quartetfore
BBC Music Guide- Schumann's Piano Music Vesteralen
Charles Ives Remembered- An Oral History/Perlis, ed.
Testimony (Shostakovich)/Volkov RandallPeterListens
Dvořák Romantic Music's Most Versatile Genius/Hurwitz Truckload
Beethoven The Music & the Life/Lockwood GGlueck
Berlioz- Memoirs jalex
Cambridge Companion to Schubert/Gibbs, ed.
The Beethoven Quartet Companion/Winter & Martin Hausmusik

3. Historical & Stylistic Periods:

Medieval Music/Hoppin
Music in the Renaissance/Reese
Baroque Music/Palisca
Music in the Baroque Era/Bukofzer
Music in the Classical Era/Pauly
Nineteenth-Century Romanticism in Music/Longyear
Romantic Music/Plantinga
Twentieth-Century Music An Introduction/Salzman
Music in the 20th Century/Austin
The Sonata in the Baroque Era/W. Newman
The Sonata in the Classical Era/W. Newman
The Sonata Since Beethoven/W. Newman Hexameron
The Rest is Noise Listening to the 20th Century bartleby/al2henry
The Classical Style/Rosen Artemis/Edward Elgar
Composers Voices from Ives to Ellington/Perlis-Van Cleve Barger
Modern Music/Griffiths Edward Elgar
Music Here and Now/Krenek hemidemisemiquaver
Quasi una Fantasia Essays on Modern Music/Adorno
Nineteenth-Century Music/Dalhaus Hausmusik

4. Instrument-specific Books:

The Composer-Pianists- Hamelin and the Eight/Rimm
The Art of the Piano/Dubal
Five Centuries of Keyboard Music/Gillespie
The Great Piano Virtuosos of our Time- ...Account of Studies w/Liszt, Chopin, Tausig and Henselt/von Lenz Hexameron
The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present/Schonberg Hexameron/Air/andruini
Piano Playing with Piano Questions Answered/Hofmann
Piano Technique/Gieseking & Leimer CML
After the Golden Age Romantic Pianism & Modern Performance/Hamilton Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet/Stowell, ed. Hausmusik
The String Quartet/Griffiths carlmichaels

5. Theory & Composition:

Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory/Miller verticiel
Principles of Orchestration/Rimsky-Korsakov anmarwis/Barger
A Guide to Orchestration/Adler Edward Elgar
Counterpoint in Composition/Salzer & Schlachter
A Practical Approach to Sixteenth-Century Counterpoint/Galdin
A Practical Approach to Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint/Galdin
Forms in Tonal Music: An Introduction to Analysis/Green
Classical Form: theory of formal function for instrumental music/Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven/Capin Herzeleide
Harmony and Voice Leading/Aldwell & Schlacter Herzeleide/bigham45
Tonal Harmony/Kostka & Payne bigham45
Counterpoint/Piston Jeremy Marchant
Foundation Studies in Fugue/Hugo
Technique of Canon/Hugo chee_zee
Treatise on Orchestration/Berlioz jalex

6. Other Music Interest

The Symphony/Steinberg Chi_townPhilly/kg4fxg
From Paris to Peoria How European Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland/Lott
The Virtuosi/Schonberg
The Book of Musical Anecdotes/Lebrecht
Lexicon of Musical Invective/Slominsky
Letters of Composers/Norman & Shrifte Hexameron
Conversations with Karajan/Osborne
Karl Böhm- A Life Remembered (Memoirs) Gustav
Collins Dictionary of Music/Kennedy Cyclops
1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die/M. Rye, ed. Sanctus493
The Lives of the Great Composers/Schonberg World Violist/Species Motrix/kx4fxg
Elementary Training for Musicians/Hindemith CML
Wondrous Strange- the Life and Art of Glenn Gould/Bazzana
Glenn Gould Reader/Page Isola
NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music/Libbey kg4fxg/Mirror Image
Musicophilia: Tales of Music & the Brain/Sacks Barger
NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection/Libbey Sam Guss
The Music Instinct how music works & why we can't live without it/Ball 52paul/Lunasong
The Great Conductors/Schonberg
The Compleat Conductor/Schuller superhorn
Music & Society Since 1815/Raynor quartetfore
The Composer's Advocate/Leinsdorf GGlueck
Evenings with the Orchestra/Berlioz jalex
Three Classics in the Aesthetics of Music/Debussy-Ives-Busoni jalex
Conversations with Menuhin/Dubal
Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations/Watson, ed.
Dictionary of Musical Quotations/Crofton & Fraser, ed. goldie08
The Great Transformation of Musical Taste Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms/Weber Hausmusik

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511 Posts
Sibelius Books!

  1. A "must have" for Sibelius lovers is Andrew Barnett's new book simply titled Sibelius.

    It sets itself apart from other Sibelius biographies in that it discusses every single piece or "performable fragment" ever written by Jean Sibelius.

    Check it out here: CLICK!
  2. Otherwise, the "standard" Sibelius biography is the 4 volume colossus by Erik Tawaststjerna, English Translation by Robert Layton.
  3. For technical books about Sibelius, it doesn't get any better than Symphonic Unity: The Development of Formal Thinking in the Symphonies of Sibelius by Veijo Murtomaki .

· Administrator
10,464 Posts
Ok ... We'll try it as a "sticky" - as long as the contents remain in reference format.

If the thread becomes a conversational debate over which composer is better than the other, we may revert to a normal thread.

I rather like the idea of this being a great reference for the community here.

Kh :cool:

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3,686 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Posting on a "sticky"... I'd better give a broadly useful recommendation-

I can't imagine that any active listener would regret reading Michael Steinberg's The Symphony. The book contains wide coverage of much of the symphony repertoire. The section on Mahler is more useful than certain entire books on the subject. The cycles of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Sibelius get fully treated. Furthermore, Haydn from Symphony 92 on, Mozart from Symphony 35 on, and Bruckner from Symphony 4 on are also well-covered.

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241 Posts
As a college music student, I've been stockpiling and using various books for research and papers. Without making a huge bibliography, I'd like to contribute the following, which are by no means the only essentials, but are still excellent sources:

Beginner's Reference

-Kerman's and Tomlinson's Listen (my old music appreciation textbook; it's easy to read).

-Machlis's and Forney's The Enjoyment of Music (like a junior version of Grout's textbook).

-Alexander Waugh's Classical Music: A New Way of Listening.

-Frederic Grunfeld's Music (a simple and watered down music text, but a fine introduction)

General Reference

-Richard Hoppin's Medieval Music. (for the advanced).

-Gustav Reese's Music in the Renaissance. (the major Renaissance source, but also for the advanced).

-Claude Palisca's Baroque Music (accessible and short).

-Manfred Bukofzer's Music in the Baroque Era.

-Reinhard Pauly's Music in the Classic Period.

-Rey Longyear's Nineteenth-Century Romanticism in Music (excellent background information on 19th century European culture).

-Leon Plantinga's Romantic Music.

-Eric Salzman's Twentieth-Century Music: An Introduction.

-William Austin's Music in the 20th Century.

History of Genres

-William Newman's trilogy: The Sonata in the Baroque Era, The Sonata in the Classical Era, and The Sonata Since Beethoven.

-Michael Roeder's A History of the Concerto.

-Homer Ulrich's Chamber Music: The Growth and Practice of an Intimate Art. (very old and a little difficult to read, but still edifying).


-Robert Rimm's The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight (nice information about Medtner, Feinberg and Sorabji not usually mentioned in other books).

-David Dubal's The Art of the Piano (almost like a New Grove's Dictionary of Pianists and Pianist-Composers).

-Harold Schonberg's The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present (although some facts Schonberg alleges are sketchy and suspicious, it is a good comprehensive survey).

-John Gillespie's Five Centuries of Keyboard Music.

Fun Reading

-R. Allen Lott's From Paris to Peoria: How European Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland. (for the pianophile)

-Harold Schonberg's The Virtuosi.

-Wilhelm von Lenz's The Great Piano Virtuosos of Our Time: A Classic Account of Studies with Liszt, Chopin, Tausig and Henselt. (as fishy as Lenz's recollections are, most of them are close to the truth and provide wonderful anecdotes).

-Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries. (everyone from Ries to Rossini and Weber to Wieck discuss the master).

-James Gaines' Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment.

-Norman Lebrecht's The Book of Musical Anecdotes. (a must have)

-Irving Kolodin's The Continuity of Music.

-Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music.

-Leonard Bernstein's The Joy of Music.

-Nicolas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective. (read about your favorite symphony being trashed).

-Norman's and Shrifte's Letters of Composers.

-Schumann on Music: A Selection from the Writings. (outstanding insight and critiques of music by Chopin and Liszt, and also works from composers you've might not heard of).

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597 Posts
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. It's always great to reference books and biographies to keep in mind.

I'm looking for a great biography on Schubert, so if anyone has any suggestions, that would be great!

And last, but not least, welcome back to the board, Hexameron! :) We've missed your contributions.

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241 Posts
Thanks for the welcome back, ChamberNut (love the young Brahms avatar, btw).

There are a couple "big" Schubert biographies, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head is by Brian Newbould. He seems to be the Schubert scholar today and has written many books on him, including an exhaustive biography.

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511 Posts
Gettin some good lists going... but I wonder, a technical thing about editing posts in this forum...

It seems you can't edit your own posts once someone has posted after you. Which means that "greensky" can't go back and edit all of our contributions into his own post, to keep the list nice and organized at the top.

Is there anything admin can do about this to enable that feature?

It would be a great reference if all of our contributions were organized by vertciel at the top, rather than as a running commentary...

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19 Posts
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the list! There are many works here which will benefit anyone interested in music.

@ Kurkikohtaus: I agree with you. I am currently trying to work something out so I can get an organised list of recommended music resources. Scrolling through pages of posts to get others' recommendations is certainly tedious and inconvenient.

I look forward to further posts!

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625 Posts
Just read this thread. A couple interesting items:

-Robert Rimm's The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight (nice information about Medtner, Feinberg and Sorabji not usually mentioned in other books).
I used to play piano and compose with Rimm. Really interesting guy with some very insightful ideas.

Also, check out 101 Masterpieces of Music & Their Composers by Martin Bookspan- it has some great in-depth analyses, especially of the Beethoven and Haydn symphonies.

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3,814 Posts
Grout is the college classic that college students have to read (music-majors, I mean). There is a wonderful Brahms biography by Jan Swafford that examines certain of his more famous music as they are written in Johannes' life.

I have a lot of old college books that I could probably post on this thread, I just don't know just how "interesting" they are.
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