The author who has taught tens of thousands of people to love opera now introduces readers to the rich and soul-stirring world of classical music. From the author of the bestselling Opera 101 comes a comprehensive and highly accessible guide to discovering the glories of classical music, based on the fundamental principle of developing the skills to truly listen. In clear and entertaining prose, Plotkin explores a thousand years of music, introducing listeners to more than one hundred great works and profiling in depth many significant composers, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Mahler. Plotkin illustrates how each piece of music possesses its own sound world, which is created by the unique style, voice, and vision of each composer, and made even more distinct by every musician who plays it. He defines major musical terms, and makes music theory comprehensible for the uninitiated. Conversations with important musicians offer fascinating insights into the art.
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Fred Plotkin has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Opera News, and other publications. He lectures frequently at the Smithsonian Institution, the Juilliard School, and Columbia University. He is the author of nine books, many of them on Italian topics. He lives in New York and Italy.From Library Journal:
The latest of many introductory books on Western classical music, Plotkin's is a fine addition to the genre, though some may prefer Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon's more traditionally organized Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music or Michael Walsh's hilarious and opinionated Who's Afraid of Classical Music? While most such books are at least partially chronological, Plotkin's revolves almost entirely around the orchestra's instruments and the listening experience. He presents material as coursework, and his strictures about really listening (as opposed to mere "hearing") are well taken and certainly apply to all kinds of music. A valuable feature are the interviews with classical musicians interspersed throughout. One weakness is that opera is not significantly treated, perhaps because Plotkin covered that ground in an earlier book, Opera 101: A Guide to Learning and Loving Opera. The discography is organized by chapter rather than composer (which makes it a bit awkward to use as a stand-alone source), but it is superior to the one in the Idiot's Guide. Recommended for libraries desiring an up-to-date and informative general introduction to classical music. Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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