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The Essential Canon of Classical Music [Format Kindle]

David Dubal
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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From Publishers Weekly

To attempt to cover the range of serious music is a herculean task from medieval polyphony to the minimalism of Arvo P„rt and Philip Glass, offering insights, biographical information on dozens of major and minor figures, and even finding room for moderately useful, if necessarily incomplete, discographies, Dubal has brought it off better than might have been expected. As a teacher at the Juilliard School and with 20 years as a classical program director at New York's WNCN radio station, he brings strong qualifications to the job, and since he writes decently, if sometimes rather bluntly, and has thought through his organization clearly, the book is probably the most useful of its kind now available. He divides music into the traditional five periods, and lists the significant composers as well as a host of lesser figures chronologically within those. In each case, he offers a few biographical snippets (more extended portraits for the great figures), provides a sense of where the composer fits into the scheme of things, then lists significant works and some chosen recordings. These are likely to be the most controversial aspects of the book, though Dubal is careful to point out that his choices offer a range of approaches to the seminal works. He does seem to have vast affection for the recordings of Sir Thomas Beecham and, more recently, for the work of Charles Dutoit; and inevitably some will question his priorities: nearly twice as much space for Richard Strauss as for, say, Sibelius? For Paul Dukas over Carl Nielsen? But the book's usefulness and comprehensiveness cannot be denied.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this entertaining and informative book, Dubal gives himself the difficult challenge of addressing two audiences simultaneously: listeners new to classical music and more experienced listeners who would like a guide to creating a "lifetime listening plan." A professor of piano literature at Juilliard and a former, longtime classical music programmer for WNCN in New York, he brings strong credentials to the taskAand, for the most part, he succeeds. The scope and attention to detail are very impressive, and the engaging writing style makes for pleasurable browsing. Dubal includes 240 composers in five chronological sections and categorizes them by date of birth within each grouping. He considers 60 to be major and, therefore, worthy of lengthy biographical entries and substantial listening lists. The remaining 180 receive about a page or less of prose, with only a handful of recordings listed. While he is relatively generous to the 20th century (more composers are included in this section than in any other), he ends his survey with William Bolcom (born in 1938), thus ignoring the many significant composers younger than 62. On the other end of the chronological spectrum, Dubal's pre-Baroque listings include only 13 composers, represented by a mere 14 recordingsAa woefully inadequate representation, given the explosion of early music recordings in the last quarter century. Despite these flaws, the book is a valuable resource for those interested in expanding their collections of classical music recordings. Recommended for all public libraries.ALarry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3519 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 800 pages
  • Editeur : North Point Press; Édition : 1st (24 octobre 2003)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0071NMCNC
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°578.968 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent guide 6 janvier 2006
Par FrKurt Messick TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS
This book is a sort of chronologically arranged encyclopedia of entries for what is colloquially termed 'classical' music. In the strict sense, not all of the music represented here is classical, but in the more common use of the term, these are the kinds of music that one finds on the 'classical' radio station.
Author David Dubal arranges things into five primary time periods. The first is Medieval/Renaissance/Elizabethan. This includes some of the earliest known named composers (often music was anonymously composed prior to this period). It is a lesser known period, and much of the composition of the time focused upon church and sacred composition. Most of the composers listed in this period (Tallis, Palestrina, Lassus, etc.) are notable church composers, but there are secular and folk-variations that also appear among their body of work.
The second time period is the Baroque, a time of increasing secular composition, although once again much of the music of the time was intended for church performance. The giants of the period include Handel and Bach, both noted for religious composition. Handel's 'Messiah' continues to be a crowd-pleaser, even though as an oratorio it wasn't original performed in churches. J.S. Bach's body of composition is so vast (and even what we have is incomplete) that rare is the Christian church in the world that does not have some of his work in their hymnals or service music.
The third time period is the most appropriately called Classical music. This includes the giants of Beethoven, Hadyn and Mozart. Dubal also includes Gluck in this major listing.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  23 commentaires
59 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent review of classical music history! 4 décembre 2001
Par Anonymous - Publié sur Amazon.com
I've been looking for a book like this for a long time. David Dubal writes a very readable and very interesting picture of a wide range of composers who those interested in classical music should know. The book includes a biographical sketch of the composer and a list of important works that define the composer's place in history. This book works equally well as classical music textbook and biography, and fills an important niche in the marketplace.
If there is a down side to the book, it is in its desire to do too much. Dubal includes a few select CDs he recommends. As I've learned in my travels, a lot of classical labels make you pay through the nose and that can be discouraging to someone on a budget. The truth is, there are some really good budget lines (like Naxos) out there that can put classical music into the hands of almost anybody who wants a good CD, without sacrificing quality one iota. Don't be bound by his selections--explore! But do read the book. It'll be worth your time.
40 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent resource 29 mai 2003
Par Emily Baker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Dubal is first and foremost a good writer. His biographical sketches of the major composers are short - about 3-5 pages each - but are compelling, elegantly written and packed with really useful information. He details composers' personal lives, historical contexts, relationships between composers and critical views (and popular views) of their works over time. After each biographical sketch he lists composer's major works, with a short discussion of the importance & influence of each piece as well as his critical opinion.
Reading Dubal's book has enriched my appreciation of some really great music. It's also prompted me to try composers I'd barely heard of before. After reading Dubal's chapter on Paganini I immediately got into my car, headed for the music store & picked up a copy of his '24 Caprices for Violin'. And I'm so glad I did. I now have a huge "must-buy" list thanks to this book.
I read this book along with Phil Goulding's "The 50 Greatest Composers and their 1000 Greatest Works". Both are worthwhile. Goulding's book is entertaining, but his ranking system & his concept of a "Starter Kit" for each composer are rather silly. Goulding's book is fun, especially for the absolute beginner. But for me, Dubal wins because of the quality of his writing and because he lists more major works to listen to and goes into detail describing each work. This is a book I'll come back to again and again.
Criticisms: His section on the Baroque is smaller than I would like. I also wish he'd added a discussion of musical forms & went into a bit more technical detail about each musical work. But I suppose that's for another book. Dubal has included a lot of substantial and enjoyable detail into this book , and I'm satisfied with it enough to think it merits five stars.
32 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Weak on early music 23 septembre 2007
Par Frederick Hecht - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Since purchasing a copy of David Dubal's "Essential Canon" soon after it was published in 2001 I have found that, if not "essential," it is very useful as a convenient and reliable reference to classical music. In our household, Dubal's "Canon" has been so often consulted that its sturdy binding has given way and I am about to order another copy today.

My rating of merely three stars is based entirely on the fact that the book has a salient and serious weakness that has not been pointed out to my knowledge, certainly not in these reviews. That weakness is in early music. By my count, Mr. Dubal devotes:

14 pages (2% of the book) to pre-Baroque music
44 pages (6%) to Baroque music
77 pages (11%) to the Classical era (including Beethoven)
355 pages (52%) to Romantic music
194 pages (28%) to the Age of Modernism

In revising this worthy book for a much-needed second edition, Mr. Dubal will surely bring it up to date by including Osvaldo Golijov and other new composers of significance.

Most importantly, Mr. Dubal needs to treat music before the Romantic era more equitably. The major Baroque figures are now limited to three: Handel, JS Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. There is no question that others (such as Corelli, Vivaldi and Telemann) deserve to be seen as major figures of the Baroque era and that more fine pre-Baroque and Baroque composers deserve inclusion in the book. Early music is being viewed, and rightly so, as of great importance.

Mr. Dubal could also afford to slim down the Romantic composers who certainly do not represent 52% of all that classical music has to offer. (Frederick Delius wrote some nice music but he does not warrant major status with 5 full pages devoted to him!)

In sum, a fine and useful book but unbalanced. Very weak on early music. Short on the great music and its makers before Romanticism, before the 19th century.
47 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The ideal book for another crack at Music Appreciation 29 janvier 2002
Par Lawrance Bernabo - Publié sur Amazon.com
My college Music Appreciation class became something of a joke when I discovered it was easier to pass the exam by NOT listening to the music at the listening lab. After all, a piano concerto is not the same thing as an operatic duet or a symphony piece. So while I have always enjoyed classical music, I could never really appreciate it in any meaningful way. So David Dubal's "The Essential Canon of Classical Music" is perfect for somebody like me who wants to know more about all those classical CDs in my collection without getting into major and minor keys and other fun stuff. For example, even I recognize "La Mareillaise" representing the French in Tchiakovsky's "Overture 1812," but find it interesting to learn that several folk tales such as "God Preserves Thy People" are used to represent the Russians. True, Dubal talks rather generally about specific works, but that is exactly what I need to advance to the next level.
The Canon is divided into five ages: (I) The Medieval, Renaissance, and Elizabethan; (II) Baroque; (III) Classicism; (IV) Romantic and (V) Modern. For each Dubal first presents the defining composers of the age: Handel, Bach and Scarlatti for Baroque; Gluck, Hayden, Mozart and Beethoven for Classicism. For the last two ages things get more complex, but what the division between the main composers and the "others" is a question of degree: pages detailing specific works versus a paragraph or two. Again, this is quite useful for someone like me who is interested in not only learning more about what I already have but who is also open to suggestions as to what composer and/or works I should track down next. "The Essential Canon of Classical Music" is both informative and engaging. It sits on the shelf next to my classical musical collection and I do not grab something to listen to without taking it along to see what new things I can learn from Dubal.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best book of its kind 21 janvier 2005
Par Mark Cannon - Publié sur Amazon.com
A brilliant and fascinating book. This is a comprehensive yet manageable-size history of classical music from medieval times through the present. There is a section for each era with biographies of the major composers, each section prefaced by an excellent framing summary of the general history and cultural context of the period. The knowledge shown by the author, not only on the wide range of music but also on the general historical and cultural aspects, is truly awesome. And unlike many such books, this one pulls no punches. If a composer was an S.O.B., the book tells you about that. If he murdered people in his spare time (e.g. Gesualdo), the book tells you about that.

What I find most fascinating and special about this book is the persistent focus on correlating the composers' achievements with their relationship histories. Again and again, mostly almost in passing, composers' productivity (or lack thereof) is expressed in the context of relationships, marriages, separations, or widowhoods. I am not aware of any other source with such an emphasis. To me, it adds enormously to the narratives and it is the most significant aspect of the book.

Each section is broken down into two portions: First, a succession of chapters on each of the most important composers, then a series of shorter write-ups on "other" composers of the period. The author does a great job of this. A key aspect of such a book is the relative amount of space each thing is given, totally aside from the actual content; this is perhaps the main factor that conveys a thing's importance and interest. Think about it: When we pick up a book like this, what's the first thing we do? Usually, we thumb through it to see just basically what's in there, rather than exactly what it says. Thus, if such a book is well done, a novice can thumb through it and, within a few minutes, know the major composers and roughly where they stand, just from who's in there and how much space they get. And I believe it would be hard to do a better job of this than Mr. Dubal did. We can always quibble, and indeed there was one particular instance where I wondered why a composer wasn't included: Orlando Gibbons. Obviously not a major thing -- I mention it only to show how deep you might have to dig to find a quibble.

Actually, one quibble that might be more substantial.......Unless I'm missing something, no female composers at all are featured. I don't know enough to be sure if this is a significant omission, but it would appear to be. Cecile Chaminade, Amy Beach, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich are examples of composers who might have been included.

The author doesn't hesitate to reveal his biases, although it's not clear if he recognizes them as such. For example, in the Borodin chapter, he says it's "unfortunate" that Borodin's themes were used in "Kismet." But, rip-offs like that were how many of us got introduced to classical music! (Me for example.) And how about this quote from the chapter on Modernism: "In the last 50 years, the young have had an unprecedented amount of money to spend, and they have been taught to spend it on bad music....." Many of us probably agree with that, but it certainly shows a bias.

An interesting additional wrinkle (easily overlooked!) is that the illustrations of the composers were done by the author himself.

Most highly recommended for people of all levels.
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