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The History Of Classical Music And The History Of Opera
The History of Opera is an affordable and accessible resource for the listening and appraising skills element in any music curriculum. Richard Fawkes traces the history of opera from its origins in the 16th century to the present day in the first three CDs. The excerpts include Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti, Bellini, Berlioz, Gounod, Offenbach, Saint-Saens, Bizet, V ...more
Published August 1st 2009 by Naxos Audiobooks
(first published June 1999)
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A mile wide and an inch thick, as someone once described my college education. It does cover just about every major (and not so major) composer of opera, from Peri to Philip Glass, though most get exceedingly short shrift. It ends with some notes on production and a few hoary anecdotes that would probably induce eye-rolling if repeated in certain company. Unfortunately, it does not include "The Rabbit of Seville" or "What's Opera, Doc?" but the recording excerpts from other notable works make it ...more
Works as an introduction to the subject. There's a good point on listening, rather than reading, this kind of book because various snippets of key Operas are included during the book to help understand the different characteristics of each period or composer.
Enthusiastic, occasionally humorous, and enticing. This audiobook made me want to listen to more opera, and left me with the feeling that I know something about opera and its history. Although five hours (the duration of this History) seem long, in fact there's so much ground to cover that most of the time I felt like I was rushing through a period or composer. A few technical terms escaped me, so it might help if you already know something about opera, but in general it's quite accessible.
The four discs cover nearly four centuries of opera, from Monteverdi to Stockhausen, with ample musical selections sprinkled in. These musical interludes are quite short, of course, but quite adequate to their purpose. Fawkes takes for granted a certain basic understanding of musical themes and movements, but even a musical novice will find much to enjoy here.