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Classical Music: A Concise History (World of Art) Paperback – October 1, 1986

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This is a concise history from Gluck to Beethoven containing 50 illustrations.

About the Author

Julian Rushton is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Leeds (UK) and Chairman of the Editorial Committee of Musica Britannica.
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Product Details

  • Series: World of Art
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500202109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500202104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,474,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This fine book provides a concise history of classical music from about 1750 to 1830. This is 'only' a century but this period contains both the Baroque and Romanticism. The book is pitched at the beginner, which suited me (not a rank novice but by no means an expert). Rushton writes clearly, eschewing the language of the specialist. He explains things like 'sonata' and 'symphony', but he does so while also covering a lot of ground. E.g., opening the book at random, I found references to Goethe, D'Alembert, Rousseau, and Schopenhauer, though I should make it clear that the intellectual and cultural history is secondary to the discussion of the music (its provenance, material production, genre, form, style, and spread and influence; he also pays attention to the recital halls) Opera is not omitted.

There are illustrations that are most useful. For example, on one page there are pictures of three kinds of early piano, so the reader can see not only the fortepiano of Mozart's era, but also the physical differences between pianos.

I should think that this book ought to be reprinted by Thames and Hudson, and perhaps put into softcover (if it wasn't originally). Rushton is eloquent, learned and interesting. I should add that he doesn't fail to discuss the so called musical unknowns, even as he also, understandably, focuses on the great names (Mozart, Gluck, Haydn and Beethoven). I was pleased to find it in a used bookstore.
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Format: Paperback
FYI, I mistakenly reviewed the hardcover rather than the softcover edition of Rushton's fine book. Please look for that review if you are interested in this smart, gracefully written, thorough introduction to classical music from the Baroque through to Romanticism.
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