Classical Music History and Reference
Featured Items
The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists
The Poets of Tin Pan Alley
A History of America's Great Lyricists
Hardcover      ISBN: 0195064089

From the turn of the century to the 1960s, the songwriters of Tin Pan Alley dominated American music. Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart--even today these giants remain household names, their musicals regularly revived, their methods and styles analyzed and imitated, and their songs the bedrock of jazz and cabaret. In The Poets of Tin Pan Alley Philip Furia offers a unique new perspective on these great songwriters, showing how their poetic lyrics were as important as their brilliant music in shaping a golden age of American popular song.
Furia writes with great perception and understanding as he explores the deft rhymes, inventive imagery, and witty solutions these songwriters used to breathe new life into rigidly established genres. He devotes full chapters to all the greats, including Irving Berlin, Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Oscar Hammerstain II, Howard Dietz nd E.Y. Harburg, Dorothy Fields and Leo Robin, and Johnny Mercer. Furia also offers a comprehensive survey of other lyricists who wrote for the sheet-music industry, Broadway, Hollywood, and Harlem nightclub revues. This was the era that produced The New Yorker, Don Marquis, Dorothy Parker, and E.B. White--and Furia places the lyrics firmly in this fascinating historical context. In these pages, the lyrics emerge as an imporant element of American modernism, as the lyricists, like the great modernist poets, took the American vernacular and made it sing.

Weather Bird: Jazz at the Dawn of It's Second Century
Weather Bird
Jazz at the Dawn of It's Second Century
Hardcover      ISBN: 0195156072

Gary Giddins's magnificent book Visions of Jazz has been hailed as a landmark in music criticism. Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post called it "the definitive compendium by the most interesting jazz critic now at work." And Alfred Appel, Jr., in The New York Times Book Review, said it was "the finest unconventional history of jazz ever written." It was the first work on jazz ever to win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.
Now comes Weather Bird, a brilliant companion volume to Visions of Jazz. In this superb collection of essays, reviews and articles, Giddins brings together, for the first time, more than 140 pieces written over a 14-year period, most of them for his column in the Village Voice (also called "Weather Bird"). The book is first and foremost a celebration of jazz, with illuminating commentary on contemporary jazz events, on today's top musicians, on the best records of the year, and on leading figures from jazz's past. Readers will find extended pieces on Louis Armstrong, Erroll Garner, Benny Carter, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, Tony Bennett, and many others. Giddins includes a series of articles on the annual JVC Jazz Festival, which taken together offer a splendid overview of jazz in the 1990s. Other highlights include an astute look at avant-garde music ("Parajazz") and his challenging essay, "How Come Jazz Isn't Dead?" which advances a theory about the way art is born, exploited, celebrated, and sidelined to the museum.
A radiant compendium by America's leading music critic, Weather Bird offers an unforgettable look at the modern jazz scene.

Claude Debussy Piano Music 1888-1905
Claude Debussy Piano Music 1888-1905
Paperback      ISBN: 0486227715

This volume contains the complete music for solo piano written by Claude Debussy between 1888 and 1905. Beginning with Deux Arabesques (1888), it offers the Suite bergamasque (1890-1905), R verie (1890), Danse (1890), Ballade (1890), Pour le piano (1896-1901), D'un cahier d'esquisses (1903), Extampes (1903), Mazurka (1891), Valse romantique (1890), Masques (1904), L'Isle joyeuse (1904), and the first series of Images (1905): Reflets dans l'eau, Hommage a Rameau, and Mouvement. In each case the music has been reproduced photographically from original or early editions.
This book has been designed to be used at the piano. Noteheads are large and clearly printed: margins and spaces are adequate for written notes, fingerings, and turnovers. It is also most useful, of course, for analysis or simply for listening along with the music.

My Music: Explorations of Music in Daily Life
My Music
Explorations of Music in Daily Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0819562645

My Music is a first-hand exploration of the diverse roles music plays in people's lives. "What is music about for you?" asked members of the Music in Daily Life Project of some 150 people, and the responses they received -- from the profound to the mundane, from the deeply-felt to the flippant -- reflect highly individualistic relationships to and with music. Susan Crafts, Daniel Cavicchi, and Project Director Charles Keil have collected and edited nearly forty of those interviews to document the diverse ways in which people enjoy, experience, and use music. Foreword by George Lipsitz. "Whether they think music is] occasional background, the meaning of life, or some unique amalgam of both, few of these informants pigeonhole neatly into one of those taste subcultures beloved of marketers, programmers, sociologists, and rock critics . . . With the most uncommitted users attesting to some degree of saturation, what comes through is how uncontrollably each bends music to his or her own semiconscious needs or well-conceived purposed." -- Robert Christgau, Voice Literary Supplement "Not surprisingly, people listen to music for many different reasons and in many different ways, but the authors express pleasant surpise at most respondents' keen interest and intelligence about popular music in general and the astonishing range of individuals' interests despite the narrowcasting principles of radio specifically and the media in general." -- Washington Post "The subjects here are the weirdest of the weird: ordinary people. The project interviewed people aged four to 83 on what music meant to them, using relatives, friends, ex-employees, and neighbors as questioners so that the answers wouldn't be the usual lies we tell about our tastes. It's staggering." -- SF Weekly "My Music presents a lively cross-section of lay commentary on music . . . The interviews are very rich, and not only for their musical content. There are miniature psychodramas, and some clouded glimpses into private lives . . . My Music is unique in its use of open-ended, more-or-less nondirective interviews, and its focus on the voices of ordinary people . . . I suspect it will prove especially useful in the classroom." -- Postmodern Culture "Captures the day-to-day and moment-to-moment experience of perfectly ordinary people. In revealing their keen interest in and their intelligence about popular music, it shows them to be the proper subject of musicology and cultural research." -- Paul Buhle "My Music captures the day-to-day and moment-to-moment experience of perfectly ordinary people. In revealing their keen interest in and their intelligence about popular music, it shows them to be the proper subject of musicology and cultural research." -Paul Buhle, editor of Popular Culture in America

Source Readings in Music History: The Baroque Era
Source Readings in Music History
The Baroque Era
Paperback      ISBN: 0393096823
Taboo Tunes: A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs
Taboo Tunes
A History of Banned Bands & Censored Songs
Paperback      ISBN: 0879307927

In this extensively researched ode to scandal, Peter Blecha recounts the travails of musicians who have dared to air "unacceptable" topics. Filled with several centuries' worth of raunchy sex ditties, morbid murder ballads, satanic songs, paeans to intoxication and radical political anthems, this book lays the censors' stories bare, and casts a much-needed spotlight on civil liberties and artistic freedom in our post-9/11 world. Highlights the work of hundreds of controversial musicians, including: the Beatles, Ray Charles, the Dixie Chicks, Dylan, Eminem, Billie Holiday, Nirvana, Elvis, Public Enemy, Sex Pistols, Springsteen, Zappa and others. "Blecha tells a story of how free we aren't. It's a story every music fan needs to know." - Dave Marsh

The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians
The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Paperback      ISBN: 0674009789

Core biographies for over 2,000 composers, compact information for all periods in music history, and particularly comprehensive coverage of the twentieth century in music. 758 pages, 9" x 6 1/4" format.

Compl Operas of Richard Wagner PB
Compl Operas of Richard Wagner PB
Paperback      ISBN: 0306805227

Wagner's operas can be counted among the most important works of art of the nineteenth century. But Wagner was a composer around whom violent artistic, political, and literary controversies raged during his lifetime. Even today, Wagner's music seems to arouse either adulation or antipathy. In The Complete Operas of Richard Wagner, as in the first four volumes of his famous series on the great opera composers, Charles Osborne first describes the composer's life at the time he wrote each opera, thus providing a biographical thread which runs through the book; follows it with a thorough examination of the libretto and its sources; and lastly tells the story of the opera, which he links to the major musical features. This book is, in effect, a musical biography of Wagner, tracing his development from his first complete opera, Die Feen, to his last, Parsifal. It serves as an invaluable guide to the often perplexing Wagner oeuvre both for the regular opera-goer and the armchair listener.

Sounds of the Orchestra
Sounds of the Orchestra
Paperback      ISBN: 0195210271

In this remarkable book, Antony Hopkins shows how the entire orchestra acts as a distinct musical instrument, one which composers have played upon over the centuries to express every mood, from the most sublime to the most frivolous. In so doing, he explains the ways in which a composer's "signature in sound" develops, from the subtly exotic pattern of a Bartok theme to the sensuously evocative chords in Debussy.
Hopkins offers an in-depth look at the origins of the orchestra itself, an evolutionary process that took the better part of two centuries in Europe, yet finds its roots in our ancient past. He begins his discussion in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, moves through the music of medieval Europe, and ultimately reaches a watershed moment in the history of the orchestra as we now know it: the composition of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos in the early eighteenth century. Having introduced the various instruments, explained the development of their groupings, and demonstrated how the blending of their tones led to the orchestral sounds of the modern era, he provides an incisive examination of actual compositions. Expertly guiding readers through representative pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Britten, Hopkins offers a unique and insightful companion for beginning and more seasoned concert-goers alike.

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.