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Most popular 20th century & contemporary classical music books

The most popular 20th century & contemporary classical music books currently available. Updated weekly.
Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler
When Words Fail: A Life with Music, War and Peace
When Words Fail: A Life with Music, War and Peace
Lark Ascending: The Music of the British Landscape
His unique and intimate history of a nation celebrates the British countryside as a living, working, and occasionally rancorous environment - rather than an unaffected idyll - that forged a nation's musical personality.
Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters
A conductor is one of classical music's most recognisable but misunderstood figures, attracting so many questions:'Surely orchestras can play perfectly well without you?
Soundscapes: A Musician's Journey through Life and Death
When he awoke, he found his understanding of the world - and beyond - fundamentally altered. This surprising and rewarding memoir offers a singular perspective on creative endeavour: the rigours of learning, the challenges of performance and the spiritual nourishment that drives us on.
Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters
Exploring the relationships with the musicians and music they conduct, and the public and personal responsibilities they face, leading conductor Mark Wigglesworth writes with engaging honesty about the role for any music lover curious to know whether or not the profession really matters.
Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations
'To Richter (no first name necessary), warm greetings to the best pianist in the Soviet Union - indeed in the whole world.' ProkofievThroughout a life dedicated to music, Richter maintained a stubborn silence about his own ideals and aspirations.
England Resounding: Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and the English Musical Renaissance
Gerald Finzi: An English Composer
The music of Gerald Finzi, whose popularity has enjoyed a great resurgence, is rooted in the tradition of Elgar, Parry, Vaughan Williams and those composers for whom song writing was a principal means of expression. This biography reveals Finzi as a more complex and engaged figure than he is often given credit for.
Michael Tippett: The Biography
The first full-length biography of Michael Tippett (1905-1998), one of 20th-century Britain's great visionary composers.
Erik Satie: Sheet Music for Piano: From Beginner to Intermediate; Over 25 masterpieces
Designed for easy reading, with fingerings clearly marked, and helpfully grouped by level of difficulty, each book contains pieces to delight lovers of the classical masterpieces, and in this case includes various sarabands and Gymnopedie.
Delius As I Knew Him
This is a new edition of Eric Fenby's famous book which has not been available in authorised form for some years. It is a memoir of the last six years of the composer's life when Fenby, then a young organist from Scarborough, volunteered to live in Grez-sur-Loing to help the blind and partly paralysed Delius to continue to compose.
Pierre Boulez and the Piano: A Study in Style and Technique
Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century
Presents an account of Britten's life, exploring his deeply held and controversial pacifism; his complex forty-year relationship with Peter Pears; and his creation of an artistic community in Aldeburgh. This book helps us understand the relationship of Britten's music to his life, and takes us as far into its alchemy as we are ever likely to go.
Erik Satie
A musical composer who dabbled in the Dada movement, a Bohemian gymnopediste of fin-de-siecle Montmartre, and a legendary dresser known as The Velvet Gentleman for his sartorial choices, Erik Satie was nearly unprecedented in technique, style and philosophy among European composers in the early twentieth century. This book tells his story.
I remember
for SA and pianoI remember sets a text reflecting on the wonder of the natural world and the people who shape our lives. The stirring melody calls to mind the folksong tradition, and is underpinned by a gently flowing piano accompaniment.
Music of the Soviet Era: 1917-1991
Silence: Lectures and Writings
Applying Karnatic Rhythmical Techniques to Western Music
Ocean of Sound: Ambient sound and radical listening in the age of communication
The classic account of ambient music, with a new foreword by Michel Faber
Rite of Spring
The story behind the scandalous first performance of one of the most influential works in the history of music.
Eccentric Melody
Noise Music: A History
Looks at the phenomenon of noise in music, from experimental music of the early 20th century to the Japanese noise music and glitch electronica. This work situates different musics in their cultural and historical context, and analyses them in terms of cultural aesthetics.
Holst: The Planets
Experimental Music Since 1970
What is experimental music today? This book offers an up to date survey of this field for anyone with an interest, from seasoned practitioners to curious readers. This book takes the stance that experimental music is not a limited historical event, but is a proliferation of approaches to sound that reveals much about present-day experience. An experimental work is not identifiable by its sound alone, but by the nature of the questions it poses and its openness to the sounding event., Experimentation is a way of working. It pushes past that which is known to discover what lies beyond it, finding new knowledge, forms, and relationships, or accepting a state of uncertainty. For each of these composers and sound artists, craft is developed and transformed in response to the questions they bring to their work., Scientific, perceptual, or social phenomena become catalysts in the operation of the work. These practices are not presented according to a chronology, a set of techniques, or social groupings. Instead, they are organized according to the content areas that are their subjects, including resonance, harmony, objects, shapes, perception, language, interaction, sites, and histories., Musical materials may be subject, among other treatments, to systemization, observation, examination, magnification, fragmentation, translation, or destabilization. These restless and exploratory modes of engagement have continued to develop over recent decades, expanding the scope of both musical practice and listening.
Music Lessons: The College de France Lectures
Summertime: George Gershwin's Life in Music
The life of a beloved American composer reflected through his music, writings and letters.
Gustav Holst: The Man and His Music
National Identity in Contemporary Australian Opera: Myths Reconsidered
Three Venus Haiku
A biography of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music, that is based on a wealth of written and oral evidence, some newly translated and some derived from interviews with the composer's friends and associates.
Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber
Schoenberg and Hollywood Modernism
Schoenberg is often viewed as an isolated composer who was ill-at-ease in exile. Kenneth H. Marcus shows that, contrary to this perception, Schoenberg was deeply involved in the cultural and intellectual environment in which he found himself, and had multiple connections in Hollywood as well as within academia.
Dance Poem
Cole Porter Platinum Collection
A songbook which contains 50 of the author's best songs for piano and voice with guitar chords.
Essential Britten: A Pocket Guide for the Britten Centenary
Benjamin Britten was one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. An indispensable source of fresh insights into this towering figure in British music, this is an updated edition of the Faber Pocket Guide to Britten, including the full text of Britten's speech On Receiving the First Aspen Award.
Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea
Jack Boss takes a unique approach to analyzing Schoenberg's twelve-tone music, adapting the composer's notion of a 'musical idea' - problem, elaboration, solution - as a theoretical framework. Containing analytical readings of key works including Moses und Aron, this study provides the reader with a clearer understanding of this vitally important composer.
Spectral Piano: From Liszt, Scriabin, and Debussy to the Digital Age
The most influential compositional movement of the past fifty years, spectralism was informed by digital technology but also extended the aesthetics of pianist-composers such as Liszt, Scriabin and Debussy. In The Spectral Piano, Marilyn Nonken explores these shared fascinations and the parallels between the movement's contemporary aesthetics and psychological research.
Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich
Russell Hartenberger offers a performer's perspective on Steve Reich's compositions, from his iconic minimalist work, Drumming, to his masterpiece, Music for 18 Musicians. This study explores the performance issues encountered by musicians in Reich's original ensemble and reveals the techniques they developed to bring his compositions to life.
Leonard Bernstein
Composer, pianist, author, television teacher, Harvard lecturer, cultural icon, humanist and conductor without peer, Leonard Bernstein's versatility was legendary. With exclusive access to Bernstein's rich legacy of letters and papers, the author reveals Bernstein's fascinating and complex personality.
Rubble Music: Occupying the Ruins of Postwar Berlin, 1945-1950
In Rubble Music, Abby Anderton explores the classical music culture of postwar Berlin, analyzing archival documents, period sources, and musical scores to identify the sound of civilian suffering after urban catastrophe.
Jazz Anecdotes: Second Time around
This revised edition of Jazz Anecdotes comes with 150 new anecdotes about jazz musicians both classic and contemporary.
Claude Debussy: Favourite Piano Works
Imogen Holst: A Life in Music: Revised Edition
This paperback edition is updated to include new insights into Holst's life and work resulting from the discovery of important unseen archival materials.
Gerald Finzi: His Life and Music
Critically acclaimed biography of one of England's best loved composers, with a full discussion and evaluation of his works.
Modern Music and After
Over the course of three decades, Modern Music and After has earned its place as the standard work on the processes of musical renewal that began in 1945. It is essential reading for the enquiring listener, and is used widely in university and conservatory courses.
Sergey Prokofiev Diaries 1924-1933: Prodigal Son
Covering the years 1924 to1933 when the author was living in Paris, this title offers an account of the successes and disappointments of a great creative artist at the heart of the European arts world between the two World Wars. It documents the inner world of a Russian exile uncomfortably aware of the nature of life in Stalin's Russia.
John Barry: A Sixties Theme: From James Bond to Midnight Cowboy
Arguably the most important popular British composer of the 20th century, John Barry (1933-2011) enjoyed a career that spanned over fifty years, in which time he won five Academy Awards for pictures includingBorn Free, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.