The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Classical Music

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9780823076987: The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Classical Music

Organized chronologically by musical era, this comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible volume contains a dazzling display of information, analysis, and color, adding up to a major new learning tool and ongoing reference source to inform and entertain students, scholars, and all lovers of classical music. Each chapter features an introduction to the period, its key composers and other personalities, musical styles, forms, and instruments. Six thematic strands developed throughout the book are identified by a series of icons at the top of each spread. These elucidating themes-designed to expand the reader's knowledge of various aspects of classical music and provide a context within each era-are "Women in Music," "Arts & Culture," "Inside the Music," "The Voice," "Performance," and "Influences." A Listening Guide for each era covers details of orchestration, instrumentation, timing, and full historical background, and an extensive discography and bibliography are also included.

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About the Author:

Stanley Sadie, editor of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the unsurpassed musical reference source, was a professor at Trinity College of Music in London for ten years, music critic of The Times (London) for seventeen years, and music consultant to some twenty-two television programs. Widely considered one of the world's most eminent authorities in music publishing, he is based in London, England. Vladimir Ashkenazy is a world-renowned virtuoso pianist and conductor.

From Booklist:

Designed for the intelligent music lover, this work combines depth of insight with a high degree of accessibility. Editor Sadie has been editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2d ed., Oxford, 2001) since 1970 and is a respected music critic.

Unlike most encyclopedias, this one is organized chronologically by period. After an introductory section on the foundations of music worldwide, there are chapters covering medieval, Renaissance, early and late baroque, classical, early and late Romantic, modern, and contemporary eras. Each chapter has these divisions: introduction (history and major events of the time and social and cultural context), personalities (biographies of key musical figures), styles and forms (new and developing), and instruments (invention, construction, role). Short entries marked by icons cover additional facts on six aspects of music: "Arts and Culture," "Inside the Music," "The Voice," "Performance," "Women in Music," and "Influences." Sidebars give more facts throughout. Other features are cross-referencing, a glossary of musical terms, bibliographies, a list of musical organizations, and an index. The few black-and-white illustrations are unremarkable.

The text of this work is a very slightly updated version of the Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Classical Music (Watson-Guptill, 2000) but with a much lower level of visual appeal. The illustrated edition also has a listening guide for each chapter focusing on a specific work and a discography. These are missing from the work under review, although entries for personalities do list a recommended recording. Bibliographies are slightly different, but information is essentially the same and will be of great use to students of music, cultural history, and general history by period. Arrangement of the encyclopedia works very well, keeping relevant information together, and it is recommended for public, community college, and high-school libraries. Since both versions are available, it remains to choose one on the basis of price, weighing the value of the illustrations. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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