The History of Classical Music

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A superb crossover title of enormous appeal to the vast selection of the population that enjoys classical music, but would like to know more about it. From Gregorian Chant to Henryk Gorecki, the first living classical composer to get into the pop album charts, here is the fascinating story of over a thousand years of Western classical music and the composers who have sought to express in music the deepest of human feelings and emotions. Polyphony, sonata form, serial music – many musical expressions are also explained – with the text illustrated by performances from some of the most highly praised recordings of recent years (all but a few taken from the Naxos and Marco Polo catalogues).

Product Details

  • Publisher: Naxos Records; Unabridged edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626341408
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626341407
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

Customer Reviews

The Power Of Musical Heritage–pleasant, instructive and educational…

 on October 13, 2014
By Tom Lee
Read the enclosed program that comes with these. If you’ve never studied music, get a laminated foldout at the local college bookstore on music theory. Be complete, in other words. And if the CD offers the program in several languages, traips dowm its libretto and watch the lyrics, for those entries. It is a pleasure to listen to lengthy histories of music, but don’t let it get ahead of you. And when listening to the combinations of instruments, after perusing the list of its entries and how many you can try pin down. Don’t worry if it’s only musical instruments, though, and listen to where and when your instrument choice. These CDs are a pleasant joy, and, pardon the unintended pun, are very instrumental in helping to learn music, or as our ancient world progenitors, and right up to modern needs, take a break and fill the house with all the greats down through the ages, relaxed to. They weren’t distracted by anything back then, except music, dance, writing, theatre, and drawing or painting. All of that demanded time and effort… and love and soul–all early world culture and movements. Only computers, TV, and the duties for all that modern entertainment forms are good — but distraction. So, fill the house with musical geniuses when playing it on your CD player– well, that’s one beneficial

History simplified

10 people found this helpful.
 on August 30, 2010
By Ron Clark
Having been a fan of classical-style music for over fifty years, and read many books on the subject including biographies, I must say that I found ‘The History of Classical Music’ a first-class production. For the amateur student or enthusiastic beginner, it is perfectly paced and well pitched for them. The libretto is entertaining and not at all heavy. The story line, which moves along briskly, does not get bogged down in superfluous deep scholastic detail and thus maintains the interest and attention of the listener. Music, illustrating and supporting the spoken word, fades in and out in perfect harmony with the narrator Robert Powell. I was addicted to Roberts voice, and the entire production for the entire length of this 4 CD set. Extremely enjoyable, very entertaining and exceptionally satisfying.

I teach music

 on March 2, 2014
By Nichole M
Sometimes I have a long car ride and I want to LEARN something. I put these CDs on and enter the world of music history. Great compilation.

Very Clearly Explained and Very Entertaining

 on February 12, 2014
By Kevin Wood
I bought this for my wife who wants to understand more about the history of music. Myself, I am a musicologist with a graduate degree in that field. I found the presentation very fine, indeed, and the explainuiations clear and to the point but I did miss the documentation and a bit of footnoting, especially when it concerned the baroque and romantic periods. It would have been nice to have had some documented references, such as letters or reviews from the period or other comments, to highlight some of the interesting sources for such material. It would also make of the set a far better teaching tool.

Good stuff

One person found this helpful.
 on May 1, 2011
By Yun Teng
4 CDs in this box and almost 5 hrs long. I ripped it to MP3 format and put them into my son’s iphone. He can learn music history anytime.

A good start, but …

3 people found this helpful.
 on January 3, 2013
By Dan Tolva
For some time, I’ve been in the market for a history of classical music that would provide audio examples of how the form developed and a concise and informative narrative. Richard Fawkes’ “The History of Classical Music” fills the bill nicely with an informative mix of biographical information, historical context and music theory, not too snooty but obviously serious stuff. If my first music theory class way back in college had used something like Fawkes’ book, I might have pursued the major for more than one quarter.

concise and informative

 on November 16, 2016
By Ensar Demirkan
I got the cds from a friend. I found it very concise and informative.. Being able to listen to the samples of the related pieces right on the spot makes it an apparent winner when compared with the books without audio support. I recommend it highly.

A good quick survey

31 people found this helpful.
 on September 1, 1999
By F. Behrens
It seems the most popular budget classical music label, Naxos, not only makes most of the Western musical output available at very reasonable prices (no top stars who demand absurd fees make this possible), but it has also issued three very nice boxed sets of recordings on cassettes and CDs (I have the latter) that together give you a quick, fairly accurate, and quite enjoyable survey of three major topics. Perry Keenlyside’s (NA 314412) is on three tapes or CDs and more or less delivers what the title promises in about 3 hours and 40 minutes. The text is considerately divided into sections–“Mozart, the child prodigy,” “January 1762, the first journeys,” “Paris and London, 1763-4,” and so on–with tracking cues for each section. The narration and quotations from letters and journals of the time are accompanied by the appropriate music drawn from the bottomless Naxos catalogue. Nigel Anthony is the narrator, aided by Paul Rhys (Mozart), Edward de Souza (Leopold Mozart), with David Timson and Anna Patrick in “other parts.” I have not seen the original books to see how much of an abridgment this is, if at all, but that is immaterial. The voices are personable, the information digestible, the whole project very worth while, especially at the price. Those last two sentences are true for the other setsas well. Richard Fawke’s (NA414012) and (417612) are both on 4 tapes or CDs and read solo by Robert Powell. I am afraid that just a little five hours is not enough to handle the first topic with any satisfying degree of completeness; but it does give a ‘Monarch Notes” glance at an enormously wide and complicated topic and is just enough for anyone who wants a head start before plunging into longer works. On the other hand, I greatly enjoyed the Opera set, timed at only 5 minutes more than the other recording. Trying to cover less, it does it better; and it even has room for some amusing incidents such as the one about the famous one-act opera that was entered into a contest (which it won) by the composer’s wife who had more faith in it than did the composer. [No, you listen to the recording to learn which opera I mean.] My only objection to the Naxos recordings of books in the low recording level that makes it a bit difficult to hear on a walkman set up on (say) a noisy train. But this should offer no problem to home hearing or even in your car. These sets are really perfect listening for long trips.

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