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The New Grove Russian Masters, I: Glinka Borodin Balakirev Musorgsky Tchaikovsky (Composer Biography Series) Hardcover – June, 1986

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Brown learned Russian in the military and taught in secondary schools before becoming music librarian of London University. In 1962 he moved to Southampton University, retiring as Professor of Musicology in 1989. His books have often focused on the Russian composers, including his definitive biography of Tchaikovsky. As the official Soviet review acknowledges: "Frankly, we have nothing like it." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Composer Biography Series
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st American ed. in book form with additions edition (June 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039302282X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393022827
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,417,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elias-Axel Pettersson on December 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I decided to order this book as part of my growing collection of Russian music literature. In preparing various lecture recitals, an eventual DMA dissertation topic, and out of pure interest, I thought it necessary to an overview of some of the most important Russian composers of the 19th century. This book is essentially a leaner version of complete Grove (which is available in many volumes and online).

The composers discussed include Glinka, Borodin, Balakirev, Musorgsky, and Tchaikovsky. Certainly this set of composers represents the development of Russian art as it tried to separate itself from the common European practices at the time. Each composer is discussed by highly-respected experts in the field, including Gerald Abraham, David Brown, Edward Garden, and David Lloyd-Jones. The writing is succinct, albeit a bit brief. The research, although it is quite incredible, is not the most recent in all cases, though the authors do explore many facets of the composers' lives, their compositional styles, their works, and their affect on and influences from other Russian and European composers.

Each "essay" is divided into sections, for example, Tchaikovsky (Brown) is split into the following sub-categories: 1840-70; High nationalism, 1870-74; Increasing problems, 1874-7; Marriage: crisis and aftermath, 1877-8; Creative trough, 1878-84; Creative renewal, 1884-90; Last Years, 1891-3; Technique and style. In addition, there is a compiled works' list and bibliography at the end of each section (essay on a specific composer).

My only complaint is that the book is indeed so short that is cannot possibly cover all the necessary content to give an in-depth portrayal of these great composers, much less a complete one. There are very few visual musical examples to accompany the written text. Of course, this book is only meant to be a cursory view of the larger subject matter. In that, it succeeds.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jeremy peterman on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly informative. As a student studying for my doctoral comprehensive exams, I enjoy rereading these chapters on my bus route to work. Each chapter probably takes 45 minutes to an hour.
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