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The Life and Death of Classical Music

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this compulsively readable, fascinating, and provocativeÂguide to classical music, Norman Lebrecht, one of the worldâs most widely read cultural commentators tells the story of the rise of the classical recording industry from Carusoâs first notes to the heyday of Bernstein,ÂGlenn Gould, Callas,Âand von Karajan.

Lebrecht compellingly demonstrates that classical recordin
Paperback, 324 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Anchor (first published April 5th 2007)
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Witty history of the rise and fall of classical music, and how its fortunes were affected by the times, as well as the cast of personalities involved.
Tony Gleeson
I've enjoyed Norman Lebrecht in his earlier books-- "Discord," "The Maestro Myth"-- where he's consistently been witty, engaging, cynical, informed, opinionated and quirky. He carries through in this telescoped history of classical music recording. It can get a little confusing, what with so many characters and events being rattled off at breakneck speed, and there's seldom a question of how he really feels about any of the artists or executives included. Lebrecht means "death" in a quite litera ...more
Can this straightforward, reasonable book really be by the nasty author of The Maestro Myth? I suppose Lebrecht has mellowed over the years––not enough for the founder of Naxos, mind you, who brought legal pressure to bear and prevented the book's release in Britain, claiming that the section dealing with his company is full of egregious errors. Lebrcht must rue the day when he stopped maligning the safely unlitigious dead.

But really, having been so repelled by his earlier work, I am amazed to f
A shimmering whistle-stop tour of a century of culture-defining recorded classical music. How it came about and why it finally killed itself. Essential reading for classical music lovers.
This book would have been better (for me) if it concentrated on the best 10 or 20 classical recordings - and went into much more detail -than a paragraph or 2. I found the political history and how it affected not only composers, conductors and other musicians but recording companies as well, really interesting.

I quite enjoy Mr Lebrecht's writing style - I just wish that he went into way more detail on why the recordings were chosen,
An interesting read which seeks to pull the curtain back on the world of classical music recording and expose the politics and characters behind them. This book would have the most relevance to those with knowledge of classical music. The (necessarily subjective) best and worse recordings list is interesting, if not always agreed.
May 25, 2007 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with ears
Behind the scenes history of the twentieth century recording industry heard through the ears of classical music.

Reminded me why I don't own some of these masterpieces, and made me want to get them.
Really gives you an idea of how the classical culture and industry operate. And the 20 worst are amusing.
Linda Gaines
Interesting to see the author's take on the death of classical music and his "best" recordings. I have a few of them.
What is the 100 Best and 20 Worst is not the important,most reasonable is the view of the author.
Guillaume Bourgault
Dec 08, 2010 Guillaume Bourgault is currently reading it
Already loving it: witty!
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Norman Lebrecht (born 11 July 1948 in London) is a British commentator on music and cultural affairs and a novelist. He was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph from 1994 until 2002 and assistant editor of the Evening Standard from 2002 until 2009. On BBC Radio 3, he has presented from 2000 and The Lebrecht Interview from 2006.

He has written twelve books about music, which have been t
More about Norman Lebrecht...
The Song of Names Why Mahler?: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World The Maestro Myth: Great Conductors in Pursuit of Power The Game of Opposites: A Novel Who Killed Classical Music?: Maestros, Managers, and Corporate Politics

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“To listen through aural debris to Francesco Tamagno (1850–1905), Verdi's original Otello, or to Alessandro Moreschi (1858–1922), the last castrato, is a fascinating experience but one that cannot be endured for much longer than holding one's head down a wishing well. The pitch is wobbly, the static obtrusive and any impression of the singer's musicality requires an imaginative leap on the listener's part.” 0 likes
“Among the gifts on the table was a DVD recording of the late Carlos Kleiber, a conducting titan who had cost our departing friend millions of dollars in cancelled projects.” 0 likes
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