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This book covers a lot of composers, some in depth. From 1100 to late 20th c. - Guillaume de Machaut to Alfred Schnittke.

The Vintage Guide to Classical Music: An Indispensable Guide for Understanding and Enjoying Classical Music by Jan Swafford

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I can wholeheartedly back this suggestion. This was a helpful book for me getting into classical music.

On the subject of Swafford, I have recently received his biography of Johannes Brahms and am very excited to read it, which I will likely start soon once I've gotten my fill of Hesse and Mann, whose fiction I can't get enough of lately.
 

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Just started reading through Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life. I picked it up in January and saw that it was recommended by several people in this thread. Just finished the first fifth or so, and I can attest to its excellence. Very engaging, very informative!
 

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Just started reading through Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life. I picked it up in January and saw that it was recommended by several people in this thread. Just finished the first fifth or so, and I can attest to its excellence. Very engaging, very informative!
negative review



John E Klapproth

1.0 out of 5 stars Solomon's Disciple
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2016 The Immortal Beloved Compendium: Everything About The Only Woman Beethoven Ever Loved - And Many He Didn't contains everything about this subject (including what Lockwood dosn' know).
Yet another biography of Beethoven, and yet another sad example of what comes about when German sources are ignored or regurgitated second hand. Lewis Lockwood made it very clear who he was following:
"I favor the hypothesis advanced by Maynard Solomon that the probable recipient of the 'Immortal Beloved' letter was Antonie Brentano. In light of the currently known evidence Solomon's view is by far the most convincing." (p. 499, note 16)
What kind of evidence is "currently known", is shown by the entry "1812" under "Chronology":
"Beethoven presents autograph of song 'An die Geliebte' ('To the Beloved'), WoO 140, to Antonie Brentano … In summer Beethoven … writes a letter to an unnamed woman called the 'Immortal Beloved' (almost certainly identified as Antonie Brentano)." (p. 555)
Beethoven never "presented" this to Antonie, but to the singer Regina Lang; Antonie got it only many months later - on "request".
Under "Relations with Women", Lockwood showed that he did not read carefully Josephine's letters (nor did he learn anything about letters the other members of the Brunsvik family wrote each other):
"Josephine did not reciprocate his feelings and … would not agree to sleep with him." (p. 197 f.)
(You notice that these are two different things!)
In all seriousness, he then presented a part of one of Josephine's letters to Beethoven:
"Even before I knew you, your music made me enthusiastic for you - the goodness of your character, your affection increased it. This preference that you granted me, the pleasure of your acquaintance, would have been the finest jewel of my life if you could have loved me less sensually. That I cannot satisfy this sensual love makes you angry with me, [but] I would have to violate holy bonds if I gave heed to your longing." (p. 198)
He not only gave the wrong date (some time in 1805 - it was in fact at the beginning of 1807), he also carefully omitted the preceding and the following sentences. I give here on the right, for comparison, the complete letter in my translation. The quoted one (from Albrecht 1996, #100) is in parts quite different if not misleading.
Citations out of context can easily achieve the desired effect - if this was: to mislead the reader, or to drive home a point that otherwise would not be there.
And then Lockwood once again perpetuated the myth (as quoted above) that
"Antonie … was, as Solomon discovered, the recipient of the autograph manuscript of his song 'An die Geliebte' ('To the Beloved') WoO 140." (p. 200)
What Lockwood's readers won't discover: To be fair, Antonie was indeed the recipient, not of "the", but of one autograph copy of this song, however, it was not its text (which was not authored by Beethoven), but the music which she obviously desired - to practice her guitar skills.

 

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Hey guys

Very interesting topic - I wanted to know if we have biographies for modern classical players. In my mind, Michael Cretu is an amazing pianists but we dont know much about him
Wasn't he more from the "non classical " like Enigma?
 

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I picked up a hefty old tome in a charity shop called 'The Complete Book of Classical Music' Edited by David Ewen. I am very pleasantly surprised by really accessible critical evaluation but also the general prose, lovely CM appreciation.
 

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Can someone please tell me how to include a picture with an OP? I need to put up 2 images with a thread I intend to start. Thanks

In response to this thread, I'll add Hector Berlioz's outstanding work if fiction, Evenings with the Orchestra. Has anyone else read this? His autobiography is a good read too. He was an excellent writer. Evenings... is a great, fun read and should be better known.
 

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Asking an open ended question here...: thoughts on any great books on Baroque music? Can be about an individual composer, performance practice, something more general about the evolution of music, something more historical about music and its relation to the times, anything. I've been voraciously devouring a lot of Baroque music that I wasn't previously familiar with over these past few weeks, and I would love to read a book to gain a deeper understanding of this brilliant music.

I think the only book on Baroque music that I've read was Evening in the Palace of Reason by James R. Gaines, which I loved. This would be an example of a musico-historical kind of book about Bach, Frederick the Great, and the times they both lived in.

Any answers would be appreciated!
 

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Asking an open ended question here...: thoughts on any great books on Baroque music? Can be about an individual composer, performance practice, something more general about the evolution of music, something more historical about music and its relation to the times, anything. I've been voraciously devouring a lot of Baroque music that I wasn't previously familiar with over these past few weeks, and I would love to read a book to gain a deeper understanding of this brilliant music.

I think the only book on Baroque music that I've read was Evening in the Palace of Reason by James R. Gaines, which I loved. This would be an example of a musico-historical kind of book about Bach, Frederick the Great, and the times they both lived in.

Any answers would be appreciated!
Try Handel in London
Yellow Font Book Publication Illustration

I've really struggled to find fun, readable books about the Baroque. Often, they're impenetrable musicology textbooks which mean nothing to me sadly. I'll have another think.
 

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Does anyone have any of the Groves editions? I'm looking at a set, 20-volumes, for a dang reasonable price, but I don't want to get it if it doesn't make interesting reading. I can Google stuff for reference. What I'd like it to be is medi depth, interesting articles that may not turn up with an online search. How close am I to it's reality?

Thanks
 

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Does anyone have any of the Groves editions? I'm looking at a set, 20-volumes, for a dang reasonable price, but I don't want to get it if it doesn't make interesting reading. I can Google stuff for reference. What I'd like it to be is medi depth, interesting articles that may not turn up with an online search. How close am I to it's reality?

Thanks
Far off, what is a reasonable price, and all we cab do is search the internet for you. ;)
 

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Musical instrument Musician Musical instrument accessory Music Violin family


Another one of those used book store bargains($1)
So however it turns out,I've no cause for complaint.
 

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Does anyone have any of the Groves editions? I'm looking at a set, 20-volumes, for a dang reasonable price, but I don't want to get it if it doesn't make interesting reading. I can Google stuff for reference. What I'd like it to be is medi depth, interesting articles that may not turn up with an online search. How close am I to it's reality?

Thanks
Sorry not to have see this until now. Hope it's not too late.

I have the 20-volume set from 1980. (I also have the 6 volume set from 1940, but we don't talk about that in polite company, because it singularly lacks an entry for Benjamin Britten ...even in 1940, he should have been worth a mention, war or no war!)

Ebay tells me I paid £75 for the 20-volume version last year, which in retrospect sounds ludicrously cheap. Bizarrely, I bought the 1940 edition the week before for a princely £12.

I can tell you that I use the 20-volume New Grove almost daily. Well, let's say, every three days or so. It's very informative. It is, of course, very "encylopædia-ish", so none of its articles are exactly fun, light reading. But if you want to spell a guy's name correctly, or know what his name actually was versus what everyone says it is, then it's indispensible. And the articles are certainly more in-depth than anything I've met on Google or Wiki. They also have a stamp of authority about them that I just don't get with anything on Wiki! They are worth what I paid for them, anyway. If you're paying a little bit more, fine. Paying much more... it depends on how much you value adjudicated information versus the wisdom of the (invariably stupid) crowd.

Additionally, the thing about Google is, you can't sit back in a comfy chair in front of a fire with an adoring cat on your lap and readily consult it (my cat likes chewing USB cables. Pray he never fancies chewing a 240v power cable!), whereas -though each of the New Groves volumes are not exactly paperlight reads, it is possible to relax back with the Groves and a glass of something, perched felines included. Paper does that for a person: I highly recommend it!!
 

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Does anyone have any of the Groves editions? I'm looking at a set, 20-volumes, for a dang reasonable price, but I don't want to get it if it doesn't make interesting reading. I can Google stuff for reference. What I'd like it to be is medi depth, interesting articles that may not turn up with an online search. How close am I to it's reality?

Thanks
I have the New Grove's ; I purchased it (ridiculously) inexpensively from a public library that was downsizing its reference collection. I found that I cannot live without it; that said, it is written by specialists for specialists, some of the more technical articles may make all but musicological students shake their heads in wonderment. Still, if you are in this forum, the set is worth it alone for the biographies, histories of record labels, definitions of terms, country-specific music histories, etc. It's a bundle to carry about with one but it's a burden I'm prepared to deal with! Recommended purchase.
 

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Has anyone read "A SOUND MIND How I Fell in Love With Classical Music (and Decided to Rewrite Its Entire History)"
By Paul Morley yet?
 

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I have this, I enjoy both musicological and musico-historiological texts, as long as they are talking about music it will be more than just fine for me. Mr Gardiner calls JS Bach a learned musician, I beg to differ, JS Bach is a musical nirvana, which means any definitive term is an insult to him.
 
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