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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.
"His insights and techniques are sound" -- Timeout Magazine
"Recommended for libraries desiring and up-to-date and informative general introduction to classical music." -- Library Journal
Fred Plotkin brings classical music to new heights of life with this volume! Although the music itself is familiar to me, there is so much historical context within which the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by GBB
Expected something different with more explanations about classical music, about the content in a work of music. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Orquidea
This is the most disappointing book about classical music I've ever read.
At first glance the book seems promising; dedicating numerous pages to one musical composition, while... Read more
I've given this book a couple of chances, but, I can't TAKE IT ANYMORE!
For one, this book is a huge ponderous tome, and he uses a lot of words, and takes
a lot of time,... Read more