Classical Music History and Reference
Featured Items
J. S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier
J. S. Bach
The Well-Tempered Clavier
Paperback      ISBN: 0882848313

A most impressive 220-page edition of the first volume of "The Well-Tempered Clavier," these 24 preludes and 24 fugues were painstakingly researched over a period of 10 years, using the most important original manuscript sources. Baroque scholar Willard A. Palmer's thorough introduction discusses fugal construction, articulation and other aspects of performance interpretation. Volume I of "The Well-Tempered Clavier" has been updated with a new "look" to match Volume II. This essential masterpiece is a "must-have" for all pianists. The comb binding creates a lay-flat book that is perfect for study and performance.

OLE Bull: Norway's Romantic Musician and Cosmopolitan Patriot
OLE Bull
Norway's Romantic Musician and Cosmopolitan Patriot
Hardcover      ISBN: 0299132501

Winterreise is perhaps the greatest song cycle ever written. Franz Schubert set to music the evocative poetry of his contemporary, German lyricist Wilhelm Muller. It is a heart-rending portrayal of a winter journey full of misery and woe.
This striking and unique multimedia volume brings together the achievements of Schubert and Muller with new interpretations by present-day musicians, scholars, and a photographer. The volume includes:
o the complete German text of Wilhelm Muller s twenty-four poems
o a new English translation of the poems by Louise McClelland Urban
o a foreword by Pulitzer Prize winning American composer John Harbison
o an introductory essay by renowned Schubert scholar Susan Youens
o ninety-two stunning black and white photographs of a winter s journey by Katrin Talbot
o a compact-disc recording of the Winterreise song cycle performed by baritone Paul Rowe and pianist Martha Fischer.

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Verdi with a Vengeance: An Energetic Guide to the Life and Complete Works of the King of Opera
Verdi with a Vengeance
An Energetic Guide to the Life and Complete Works of the King of Opera
Paperback      ISBN: 037570518x

Everything you could possibly know about Verdi and his operas, from the brilliant and humorous author of Wagner Without Fear.

If you want to know why La traviata was actually a flop at its premiere in 1853, it's in here. If you want to know why claiming to have heard Bjorling's Chicago performance of Il trovatore is the classic opera fan faux pas, it's in here. Even if you just want to know how to pronounce Aida, or what the plot of Rigoletto is all about, this is the place to look. From the composer's intense hatred of priests to synopses of the operas and a detailed discography of the best recordings to buy, it can all be found in Verdi with a Vengeance. William Berger has given another improbable performance, serving up a book as thorough as it is funny and as original as it is astute, an utterly indispensable guide for novice and expert alike.
Stars Don't Stand Still in the Sky: Music and Myth
Stars Don't Stand Still in the Sky
Music and Myth
Paperback      ISBN: 0814747272

Our cultural darlings make music; we make them mythic. Every musical genre begets a community of listeners, performers, and critics, and quite often those categories are blurred. From the principled punk refusal of celebrity to hip-hop's celebration of its power, the music world is self-obsessed.
Stars Don't Stand Still in the Sky assembles scholars, music writers, industry workers, and musicians, who offer a range of opinions and experience of the nature of fame. The collection focuses on commerce, the crowd, performance and image, history and memory, and romance. Contributors discuss black women icons, love-songs, the legacy of the blues, the image of the tortured rock star, MTV, the politics of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the joy of line-dancing, and more.
The contributors are James Bernard, Anthony DeCurtis, Katherine Dieckmann, Chuck Eddy, Paul Gilroy, Daniel Glass, Lawrence Grossberg, Jessica Hagedorn, Kathleen Hanna, James Hannaham, Dave Hickey, Jon Langford, Greil Marcus, Angela McRobbie, Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky), Barbara O'Dair, Ann Powers, Toshi Reagon, Simon Reynolds, Robert Santelli, Jon Savage, Danyel Smith, Arlene Stein, Deena Weinstein, and Ellen Willis.

A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
A Night at the Opera
An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
Paperback      ISBN: 0375751769
"Delightful and anti-reverential"--Sunday Times (London)

With an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and a delightful dash of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the world of opera--its structure, composers, conductors, and artists--in this hugely informative guide. A Night at the Opera dissects the eighty-three most popular operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberfl te. For each opera, Sir Denis details the plot and cast of characters, awarding stars to parts that are "worth looking out for," "really good," or, occasionally, "stunning." He goes on to tell the history of each opera and its early reception. Finally, each work is graded from alpha to gamma (although the Ring cycle gets an "X"), and Sir Denis has no qualms about voicing his opinion: the first act of Fidelio is "a bit of a mess," while the last scene of Don Giovanni "towers above the comic finales of Figaro and Cos and whether or not it] is Mozart's greatest opera, it is certainly his most powerful finale."

The guide also presents brief biographies of the great composers, conductors, and singers. A glossary of musical terms is included, as well as Operatica, or the essential elements of opera, from the proper place and style of the audience's applause (and boos) to the use of subtitles.

A Night at the Opera is for connoisseurs and neophytes alike. It will entertain and inform, delight and (perhaps) infuriate, providing a subject for lively debate and ready reference for years to come.
Memoirs of Lorenzo Da Ponte
Memoirs of Lorenzo Da Ponte
Paperback      ISBN: 0940322358

Plot and counterplot lie at the heart of Don Giovanni, Cos fan tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro, the three brilliant libretti that Lorenzo Da Ponte prepared for Mozart. They were also central to Da Ponte's own extraordinary life. His Memoirs record a fantastic variety of romantic, political, and professional intrigues, and tell of meetings with a host of remarkable men. In a life that took him from the canals of Venice to the streets of New York, Da Ponte was at different times priest, professional gambler, proprietor of a bordello, political agitator, court poet, impresario, grocery store owner, and the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia University. His Memoirs, a minor classic of Italian literature, are the picaresque and engrossing story of a man of enormous talent and unsurpassed flair who was, above all, an indefatigable survivor.

"I shall speak of things . . . so singular in their oddity as in some manner to instruct, or at least entertain, without wearying." --Lorenzo da Ponte
My Life with the Great Pianists
My Life with the Great Pianists
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0801057108

Mohr's humor and personal perspective on the lives of Rubinstein, Horowitz, and other artists mix music lore with quiet faith.

Tristan Chord
Tristan Chord
Paperback      ISBN: 080507189x

Richard Wagner's devotees have ranged from the subtlest minds (Proust) to the most brutal (Hitler). The enduring fascination with his works arises not only from his singular fusion of musical innovation and theatrical daring, but also from his largely overlooked engagement with the boldest investigations of modern philosophy. In this radically clarifying book, Bryan Magee traces Wagner's intellectual quests, from his youthful embrace of revolutionary socialism to the near-Buddhist resignation of his final years. Magee shows how abstract thought can permeate music and stimulate creations of great power and beauty. And he unflinchingly confronts the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity, and anti-Semitism are as repugnant as his achievements are glorious.

At once a biography of the composer, an overview of his times, and an exploration of the intellectual and technical aspects of music, Magee's lucid study offers the best explanation of W. H. Auden's judgment that Wagner, for all his notoriety, was "perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived."

Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera
Opera 101
A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera
Paperback      ISBN: 0786880252

Opera is the fastest growing of all the performing arts, attracting audiences of all ages who are enthralled by the gorgeous music, vivid drama, and magnificent production values. If you've decided that the time has finally come to learn about opera and discover for yourself what it is about opera that sends your normally reserved friends into states of ecstatic abandon, this is the book for you. Opera 101 is recognized as the standard text in English for anyone who wants to become an opera lover--a clear, friendly, and truly complete handbook to learning how to listen to opera, whether on the radio, on recordings, or live at the opera house. Fred Plotkin, an internationally respected writer and teacher about opera who for many years was performance manager of the Metropolitan Opera, introduces the reader (whatever his or her level of musical knowledge) to all the elements that make up opera, including:

  • A brief, entertaining history of opera;
  • An explanation of key operatic concepts, from vocal types to musical conventions;
  • Hints on the best way to approach the first opera you attend and how to best understand what is happening both offstage and on;
  • Lists of recommended books and recordings, and the most complete traveler's guide to opera houses around the world.
The major part of Opera 101 is devoted to an almost minute-by-minute analysis of eleven key operas, ranging from Verdi's thunderous masterpiece Rigoletto and Puccini's electrifying Tosca through works by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, to the psychological complexities of Richard Strauss's Elektra. Once you have completed Opera 101, you will be prepared to see and hear any opera you encounter, thanks to this book's unprecedentedly detailed and enjoyable method of revealing the riches of opera.
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 7
Paperback      ISBN: 0486404188

Renowned for its celebrated slow movement, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 is one of his most popular works. Written in 1812, when the 42-year-old composer was at the peak of his powers, it demonstrates the mastery of a mature artist in complete control of his craft. His command of symphonic form, thematic development, and orchestral texture is everywhere evident in this remarkable composition.
Reprinted here from the authoritative Litolff edition, this work appears in full score with bar-numbered movements for easy reference. Ideal for study in the classroom, at home, or in the concert hall, this affordable, high-quality, conveniently sized volume will be the edition of choice for music students and music lovers alike.