Classical Music History and Reference
Featured Items
A Song of Love and Death: The Meaning of Opera
A Song of Love and Death
The Meaning of Opera
Paperback      ISBN: 1555972411

A Song of Love and Death: The Meaning of Opera

Graywolf's updated edition of this classic book on opera includes a new afterword by author Peter Conrad.

Arguing that opera's deepest roots lie in our most fundamental human rituals, Peter Conrad shows us the faces of the gods that still hover over the pageant--gods of music, abandon, evil, love. then, with the dizzying skill of a practiced literary and cultural critic, the author takes us on a ride through the repertoire of operas past and present. Finally, he brings us to the climactic moment of the form: the performance. We meet the great personalities--from Puccini to Bernstein to Domingo--in their element, and see anew how their celebrity and their artistry affect us all.

Chopin's Letters
Chopin's Letters
Paperback      ISBN: 0486255646

"Nothing could be more spontaneous and ebullient than Chopin's letters." -- Books
"Perhaps no composer's letters are so kindred to his music, and reminiscent of the impression produced by it, as Chopin's are." -- The New York Times
This superbly edited selection of nearly 300 of Chopin's letters, the first to be published in English, vividly reveals the composer as man and artist, and evokes the remarkable age -- Europe of the 1830s and 1840s -- he shared with an equally remarkable cast of characters, from Jenny Lind to Isabella II of Spain, from Queen Victoria to George Sand, from Heinrich Heine to Victor Hugo.
The tone of the letters is exuberantly engaging: "They abound in delightful gossip, they are merry rather than malicious, they are engagingly witty, and at times their humor becomes positively Rabelaisian" (Peter Bowdoin, Books). Their contents offer rare glimpses into Chopin's childhood environment, his mind and character, his tragic love for George Sand, the origins of many of his compositions, the various musical influences that shaped his creative ideas and habits, and the artistic circles in which he moved.
Originally collected by the Polish musicologist Henryk Opienski, the letters have been translated and annotated by Chopin scholar E. L. Voynich. Students and admirers of Chopin will find in their pages vast resources to deepen their love and appreciation for -- and wonderment at -- the unique individuality and achievement of this great musical personality.

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.
Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 & 1965 Tours That Changed the World
Ticket to Ride
Inside the Beatles' 1964 & 1965 Tours That Changed the World
Paperback      ISBN: 014303426x

An insider's look at the world's first major rock-and-roll tour, Ticket to Ride tells the Beatles? story like it's never been told before.
? Includes a CD featuring an hour of Kane's rare interviews with the Beatles
? Features a foreword by Dick Clark

Notebook for Willhelm Friedmann Bach: For Piano
Notebook for Willhelm Friedmann Bach
For Piano
Paperback      ISBN: 0769278736

Johann Sebastian Bach's "Notebook for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach" is a collection of keyboard music Bach began compiling in around 1720. Most of the pieces included are better known as parts of the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Inventions and Sinfonias. The authorship of some of the other works in the collection is debated. The comb binding creates a lay-flat book that is perfect for study and performance. 62 Selections, 123 pages.

Reminiscing With Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake
Reminiscing With Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake
Paperback      ISBN: 081541045x

Based on extensive interviews, this illustrated text recounts the lives and music of ragtime pianist-composer Eubie Blake and his partner for 57 years, singer, lyricist and bandleader Noble Sissle.

Mozart
Mozart
Hardcover      ISBN: 0670882380

Mozart is the archetypal child prodigy whose genius triumphed over precociousness, and who later broke away from a loving but tyrannical father to pursue his vision unhampered. Peter Gay traces the development of the man and the composer who pushed every genre - especially opera - into new realms.

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.
Music: A Very Short Introduction
Music
A Very Short Introduction
Paperback      ISBN: 0192853821

What is music? How is it constructed? How is it consumed? Why do you enjoy it at all? In Music: A Very Short plays Introduction, Nicholas Cook invites us to really think about music and the role it plays in our lives and our ears. Drawing on a number of accessible examples, the author prompts us to call on our own musical experiences in order to think more critically about the roles of the performers and the listener, about music as a commodity and an experience, what it means to understand music, and the values we ascribe to it.
This very short introduction, written with both humor and flair, begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond. Incorporating musical forms from every continent, Music will make enjoyable reading for beginner and expert alike.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.