Music of the Great Composers

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Patrick Kavanaugh shows that great music was written to be enjoyed, not merely admired. In Music of the Great Composers, he displays his gift for making the classics easy to understand and a delight to listen to. This practical book lets you select a listening program that's based on your needs and interests. Choose from a variety of approaches to pick the one that fits you best. From chorales to concertos to solo repertoire, Music of the Great Composers lets you customize your listening to broaden your understanding and love of music. You'll find: – Guidance for building a personal listening library – Fascinating insights into instruments, history, composers, compositions, musical terms–even simple music theory for the layperson – A lively guide to hundreds of masterworks–for hours of reading and listening enjoyment. Kavanaugh removes the intimidations from 'highbrow' music, taking it out of its ivory tower so everyone can enjoy it. Written in a refreshing, popular style, Music of the Great Composers will bring an exciting new depth to your enjoyment of the classics.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Zondervan ed. edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310208076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310208075
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

One of the best "what to listen to" books I’ve found yet

23 people found this helpful.
 on December 29, 2010
By Michael K. Smith
This was first published in 1993 as _A Taste for the Classics,_ and was reissued (apparently unchanged) by Zondervan, a major religious publishing house — presumably because the author has also written several “spiritual” books about composers. It’s not a very long book, but it works very well for me. I’m one of those people who “appreciates” music and who listens to one sort or another a great deal of the time — though I have zero musical training, don’t play an instrument, can’t read a note of music, and can’t even carry a tune. I grew up with my mother’s fondness for show tunes and my father’s partiality for the big bands of his own youth, and I became engrossed in the rock and folk revolutions of the late 1950s and early `60s. And then, in college, I took to listening to the campus’s NPR station and developed a taste for the classical stuff — especially chamber music. I built up what I imagined was a decent record collection over the years, later replaced it with CDs, and yet never had a plan for what I was listening to. Recently, a conversation with a more knowledgeable friend led me to think should be more systematic about this and I began reading books from the library. Not textbooks, not biographies, not histories, but the musical equivalent of the “what ought I to read next” sort of thing. (I’m a librarian and “reader’s advisory” is something I understand.) After working my unimpressed way through a sizable stack of volumes, I have found a very few that provide the information for which I’ve been searching and which do it in a non-threatening way. Kavanaugh confines himself to a little more than 200 pages, organizing his suggestions by category: symphonic, orchestral, choral, concertos, opera, chamber music, and song. In each chapter, he discusses (briefly) the major western composers and explains why their works continue to be popular, what you should listen for, and what influence they had on the next generation. Scattered throughout are listening programs apposite to the topic under discussion. And at the end is an everything-list: “A Lifetime of Listening: Your First Thousand Pieces.” That’s undoubtedly more than I will ever get to but it’s an excellent checklist. I’ve already acquired a number of new CDs of composers I hadn’t previously considered. An excellent resource.

This seems to be a brief, easy-read kind of …

One person found this helpful.
 on August 27, 2014
By Sara Takeuchi
This seems to be a brief, easy-read kind of music history book for young students. I plan to give it to someone whose general knowledge of composers is very limited, but who loves to attend classical concerts, so I believe this will increase his knowledge of the composers whose music he already loves.

Good book.

 on May 8, 2015
By Debbie Federer
Very nice. Very informative.

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