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The Farewell Symphony Hardcover – July 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this intriguing history lesson for music lovers, Prince Nicholas of Austria forbids his musicians from bringing their families to Estherh za, his summer palace in the Hungarian countryside. The court musicians under composer and royal music director Joseph Haydn's care grow increasingly homesick and restless, particularly when the prince extends his stay well into the autumn of 1772. "It will take a great deal of cleverness and tact to influence the prince," says Haydn. His solution: to compose a new symphony as a way of conveying the musicians' emotions to his employer. The real story behind Haydn's famous Symphony No. 45 (in F minor)Atracing the underlying moods that accompany each movement and ending with the musicians leaving the stage one by oneAwill likely make attentive listeners of its readers, as they gain a newfound appreciation for music's simultaneous subtlety and power (a CD recording is included). And if Celenza tweaks history by investing the characters with thoughts and emotions of her own devising (e.g., upon hearing the "explosive chords" and "surging melodies" of the "angry" first movement, the prince senses "the musicians' frustration over having to remain at Esterh za"), her interpretation of the events is plausible. Kitchel's (The Heart of a Friendship) brightly bordered watercolors verge on the simplistic, particularly the cartoonish features of the characters, but include plenty of historical detail. Ages 4-9. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-Celenza's story is a delightful introduction to Joseph Haydn, his "Farewell Symphony," and 18th-century court life. The composer asks Prince Nicholas if the homesick musicians might invite their families to join them at the summer palace in Hungary, and the answer is an emphatic and angry no. When the stay extends into late fall, the musicians again appeal to their royal music director, this time to convince the prince to return to Austria. Since words again fail to persuade him, Haydn decides to try music. His Symphony in F-sharp minor reflects the musicians' anger, sadness, and frustration, and finally moves Nicholas to return home. Based on true events, the story is well told and suitably illustrated with striking watercolor-and-ink cartoons with simple lines and exaggerated characterizations that convincingly convey a sense of the excess and finery of the period. The white-wigged musicians are bathed in fiery crimson as they play the angry first movement and the tearful prince is covered in a wash of blue during the sorrowful second passage. There are notes on both 18th-century symphonic form and instruments as well as on the events and personalities in the story. An entertaining musical history and a well-produced package.
Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; Rei/Com edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570914060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570914065
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I do collect children's books and take into consideration the illustrations as well as the story. I rate this book excellent, the story is True, based on documented evidence. A CD is also included of the complete "The Farewell Symphony'" and I replay it ad infinitum. Excellent investment in quality entertainment. The illustrations are delightful! Dorothy Hope
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Format: Hardcover
I would read this to a class or child and then enjoy listening to the work. It's a very nice introduction to Haydn and the humor he used when composing. Wonderful book and it comes with a nice performance of several of Haydn's Symphonys.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 7 year old loved this book. We read it together, then he read it again on his own. The illustrations in the book are wonderful, it's written very well for a 1st grader+ level and the attached CD was a nice touch. I have to say though that if your child had little to no exposure to classical music, it may not be as interesting. With the right preparation, this is a wonderful book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This the best book I found for reading aloud to my elementary class on Haydn. The story is engaging and more importantly based on documented facts. My kids always ask if the stories are true and so I try to find ones based more on fact than fiction. The CD was also a nice accompaniment to reading the book.
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