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A History of American Classical Music (Naxos Books) Hardcover – August 1, 2007

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Like Charles Hamm's Music in the New World (1983), this excellent history serves as an inclusive tutor for the layperson. Scherer (music critic for The Wall Street Joumal and a lecturer on classical-music appreciation on PBS and at venues in New York City) takes a broad view of classical music... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers." - Choice

From the Inside Flap

Think “American Classical Music” and what names come to mind? Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein? Joplin, Foster, Sousa? These all deserve their popularity, but America’s classical legacy includes riches unfamiliar to even the most educated music lovers.

A History of American Classical Music celebrates this legacy, from colonial times to today. In these pages you’ll meet American Romantics like Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Edward MacDowell, modernists like Charles Ives and John Cage, and figures from today’s cutting edge like John Adams, Philip Glass, and Michael Torke.

This multimedia history includes:
• 1 CD of music spanning more than a century of American classical music

Barrymore Laurence Scherer is a music critic for The Wall Street Journal, a contributing editor of Art & Auction magazine, and has been a commentator for NPR’s “Performance Today.” Named a Speaker in the Humanities by the New York Council for the Humanities, he has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, and as an independent scholar he has lectured extensively on opera, classical music, and the fine arts at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and museums and related venues around the country. Mr. Scherer is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Bravo! A Guide to Opera for the Perplexed.

Product Details

  • Series: Naxos Books
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks MediaFusion; 1 Har/Com edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402210671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402210679
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,049,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I originally got this book because I wanted to learn more about Scott Joplin's opera _Treemonisha_. I appreciated that Mr. Scherer took the time to contextualize the breadth of Joplin's work when I could find few other resources that did. That attention to the forgotten and underappreciated contributors to American music is one of the strengths and joys of the book. I have learned a great deal about composers and musicians of whom I knew little. As well, Mr. Scherer nicely explains the political, social and cultural background that helped to shape them and their music. (Surprisingly, it acted as a nice history review, reminding me of key events like the War of 1812 and showing how they were linked to other events during that time period.)

Mr. Scherer's writing style is engaging. While he clearly has a scholarly understanding of his subject, he speaks in laymen's terms with a passion for the material that cannot help but elicit an enthusiastic response. I plan to incorporate some of the music into my high school American Lit classes. I'd like to give my students a broader understanding of the periods that we study. Overall, this is a great resource, and I'm glad that it's a part of my library.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just buy it. I sampled it on my new Kindle (an old used Kindle). I was immediately thrilled that the content was organized, well-written, offered a clear timeline for events, and humorous asides that only enhance this work.

The author offers a clear writing style with historical events that shaped the artistic moment of a composer's life. Thoughtful and a find edition to my music book collection. I will likely purchase the hard copy...because it deserves a firm place on any musician's bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fine summary with excellent illustrative tracks on the CD and online.
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