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In this book, Kapilow focuses on short masterpieces by major composers to help you understand the essence of each composer's genius and how each piece—which can be seen as well as heard on the book's companion website—transformed the musical language of its time. His down-to-earth approach makes these great pieces easy to grasp no matter what your musical background.
You'll explore the musical styles and genius of eighteen great classical composers, including Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Puccini, Wagner, Dvoak, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and more. You'll delve deeply into some of the most popular music from the classical repertoire, such as Vivaldi's "Spring" from The Four Seasons and Tchaikovsky's "Trepak" from The Nutcracker Suite. With Kapilow's guidance, you'll get to know each short piece measure by measure, phrase by phrase, and layer by layer, and gain a rich, in-depth understanding of its language and style.
As you listen to each composition, you'll discover how the piece is put together, what makes it great, and how it exemplifies the composer's style. This combination of close listening—via the easy-to-use website—and historical and musical context will not only foster a deep understanding of these pieces and composers, but also inform and enrich your experience when listening to classical music.
Whether you're a first-time listener, an experienced concertgoer, or a performing musician, What Makes It Great?, along with musical examples on the book's website (with a scrollbar that allows even those who don't read music to follow along), offers an invaluable point of entry into the world of some of Western music's greatest composers and a collection of individual masterpieces spanning almost two hundred years.
"Kapilow . . . has been helping audiences hear more in great music for almost twenty years. . . . Clearly, he wants to switch people on to classical music, to encourage the same people who 'get' the music of a Broadway show similarly to get Vivaldi and Beethoven."
—Gramophone on All You Have to Do Is Listen
"Kapilow gets audiences in tune with classical music at a deeper and more immediate level than many of them thought possible."
—Los Angeles Times
"Rob Kapilow is awfully good at what he does. We need him."
—The Boston Globe
"A wonderful guy who brings music alive!"
"Rob Kapilow leaps into the void dividing music analysis from appreciation and fills it with exhilarating details and sensations."
—The New York Times
"You could practically see the light bulbs going on above people's heads. . . . The audience could decipher the music in a new, deeper way. It was the total opposite of passive listening."
—The Philadelphia Inquirer