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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.
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Cover
Title
Description
1
Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler
2
When Words Fail: A Life with Music, War and Peace
3
Michael Tippett: The Biography
The first full-length biography of Michael Tippett (1905-1998), one of 20th-century Britain's great visionary composers.
4
When Words Fail: A Life with Music, War and Peace
5
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.
6
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.
7
Silence: Lectures and Writings
Silence
8
Corresponding with Carlos: A Biography of Carlos Kleiber
9
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.
10
England Resounding: Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and the English Musical Renaissance
11
Dear Green Sounds - Glasgow's Music Through Time and Buildings: The Apollo, Glasgow Pavilion, Mono, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut and More
Glasgow has always been known for its live music and its buildings and venues that play host to local and touring acts are much loved. Written by various music writers, Dear Green Sounds tells the story of Glasgow's music history though time and buildings.
12
Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
Alex Ross's sweeping history of twentieth-century classical music, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, is a gripping account of a musical revolution.
13
Pierre Boulez and the Piano: A Study in Style and Technique
14
Dmitry Shostakovich
A vivid, absorbing new biography of Dmitry Shostakovich.
15
Dearest Lenny: Letters from Japan and the Making of the World Maestro
Through personal letters from little known Japanese individuals that had never been studied before, Dearest Lenny interweaves an intimate story of love and relationships with a history of Leonard Bernstein's transformation from an American icon to the world maestro during the second half of the twentieth century.
16
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.
17
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?
18
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.
19
Oxford History of Western Music: Music in the Late Twentieth Century
The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history., Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices., Unlike earlier surveys, Taruskin provides greater attention to the full range of 20th century music, including American music as part of the mainstream tradition of western music, women in music, and popular music.
20
National Identity in Contemporary Australian Opera: Myths Reconsidered
21
Three Venus Haiku
22
Foreground Music: A Life in Fifteen Gigs
A chronicle of a lifetime's passion for gig-going, by one of British television's most respected writers.
23
Eccentric Melody
24
Oxford History of Western Music: Music in the Early Twentieth Century
The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history., Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices., Unlike earlier surveys, Taruskin provides greater attention to the full range of 20th century music, including American music as part of the mainstream tradition of western music, women in music, and popular musics.
25
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.
26
New Music at Darmstadt: Nono, Stockhausen, Cage, and Boulez
The Darmstadt New Music Courses were the most significant institutional bastion of new music in post-war Europe. Yet until now there has been no full-length coverage of them in English. This volume shows the rise and fall of the 'Darmstadt School', through a wealth of primary sources and analytical commentary.
27
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.
28
Dance Poem
29
Swan Lake: Reimagining A Classic
This beautifully produced new Royal Ballet branded book with photographs by Bill Cooper is a collection of exclusive photographs which shines the spotlight on Swan Lake.
30
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.
31
Petrouchka: Burlesque in Four Scenes, Revised 1947 Edition
32
War Requiem
33
Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond
Composer Michael Nyman's classic 1974 account of the postwar experimental tradition in music.
34
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.
35
Ravel
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.
36
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.
37
Leonard Bernstein Letters
An extraordinary selection of revealing letters to and from one of the titans of 20th-century music
38
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky was a celebrity composer in an increasingly celebrity-obsessed age. He was a true modern, a man of his time. Stravinsky's extraordinary music reflected and shaped his own times, and resonates with audiences even today. Stravinsky tells of a colourful life lived against the backdrop of the twentieth century's wars and revolutions.
39
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.
40
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.
41
Graph Music of Morton Feldman
David Cline provides a detailed analysis of Morton Feldman's groundbreaking graph music and its considerable impact upon the development of post-war classical music. This book highlights the influence of contemporary art on Feldman's works and explores his relationships with Earle Brown, John Cage, Christian Wolff and David Tudor.
42
John Cage and Peter Yates: Correspondence on Music Criticism and Aesthetics
The correspondence between John Cage and Peter Yates represents the final part of Cage's three most significant exchanges of letters. Cage argued 'composing's one thing, performing's another, listening's a third': in this exchange he engages directly with the last part of that triad of musical elements.
43
German Operetta on Broadway and in the West End, 1900-1940
A study of a neglected but crucial part of the history of the West End and Broadway. The stage works presented here connect to major topics of the twentieth century including modernity, cosmopolitanism and media technology. This book is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
44
Stockhausen on Music
45
Gabriel Faure
A comprehensive overview of the life and career of French composer.
46
Cambridge Companion to Debussy
This Companion offers insights into Debussy's character, his environment and his music, especially the roles of nature and eroticism in his music. His works are discussed through the themes of sonority, rhythm, tonality and form, with closing chapters on performance and reception at the start of the new century.
47
Messiaen
48
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.
49
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.
50
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.