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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 21 reviews
on September 12, 2009
Music history with a distinctive point of view, as is true of everything Taruskin writes. It's a work in the magisterial tradition, exhibiting a humanity and a command of material that goes far beyond anything I've ever encountered.

It's also a delight to read; charmingly written and clearly argued. If you love music and love thinking about music, you should have this on your shelf.
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on June 18, 2012
Mr. Taruskin's work in this book series is awesome. This series is one of the most ambitious musicological undertakings in recent memory. His insights are outstanding, and he has a flair for theoretical analysis that balances between historical context and theory near-seamlessly.

I always find bad reviews more helpful than good ones, so instead of gushing over how good these books are, let me give you some other points that might help you decide if you want to fork over the cash.

- These are not traditional textbooks in the way of Grout or Stolba. There are no diagrams, pictures, timelines, margin notes, et al. What the book does have is text, and lots of it, and many, many musical examples.
- The books seem to be written in the manner of a lecture: there is lots of talking and musical examples, just as you would get if you sat down in one of Taruskin's classes. Also, the chapters are all nearly the same length regardless of subject matter, which is another reason why I think they are similar to the experience of sitting in one of Taruskin's lectures.
- Taruskin's style can be kind of like this: "Sit down and I'll tell you a story." As a result, you won't find a chapter called "Mendelssohn" and another called "Webern". He weaves in and out of these composers as he likes, so besides the general index, you may find it time-consuming to find a specific topic in the set if you are doing research.
- There are no indices in the individual volumes; only the last book has the indices.

On the whole though, an awesome set of books, and the price is definitely worth it.
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on June 4, 2010
I initially purchased only the volume on early music for a history seminar in my graduate program and was thoroughly impressed into the detail that Taruskin provides. He presents music within the context of history itself. I enjoyed the writing style and decided to pick up the rest of the books as one complete set.
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on March 2, 2013
very inclusive. Great for studying all the different eras in music. Much larger and more detailed than the one we used in college.
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on October 6, 2012
Taruskin makes reading about gregorian chants and opera easy. Im only on book 2 of 5, but so far so good.
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