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The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music
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The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  49 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
For the beginner or the devotee--it's everything the classical music buff needs to know.
The major composers from Bach and Bartok to Rachmaninoff and TchaikovskySignificant performers from Maurice Andre and Leornard Bernstein to Georg Solti and Yo Yo MaThe landmark works from Appalachian Spring to Don JuanA concise history of classical musicA deconstruction of the art form
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Perigee Books
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Kristy Bryson
I wanted a readable primer for classical music and this fit the bill. I've listened to classical and opera in passing, but not with a dedicated ear for it. One season, many moons ago, I developed a habit (while knitting) of listening to a special series on NPR of rebroadcasts of NY Met operas that were divided into chunks followed by a layman's breakdown of the action and performance significance. Unfortunately, I can't find anything like this available on our NPR stations here. (I do enjoy my C ...more
Ray Stickle
Sep 23, 2014 Ray Stickle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I wasn't expecting a book that would unlock all of the complexities of Beethoven and Mozart, and I wasn't disappointed in that respect. What I got was a beginner's reference to composers, some of their outstanding works (and quality recordings), and a brief history of the art. The book led me to Dvorak's 8th and 9th Symphonies and the works of Charles Ives, so there's no way it gets less than four stars. For a better introduction to the complexities of the music, check out the wonderful Yale Ope ...more
(as is my policy, I don't rate books I don't read every page of; I read 80% of this)

Dense book with information on technique, composers, major works, etc. throughout classical music history. Read solely to get better at trivia contests, which it was well-suited for.

Good book for people with no interest in classical music who wish to learn more about classical music.
Lucas Johnson
Strangely disjointed text meets overly repetitive descriptions of musical scenes. It did, however, introduce me to a number of composers and performers (largely due to my ignorance). I would not recommend this book, but I have not read enough on the topic to offer up anything better.
Dec 30, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great introduction to classical music and good reference for any beginners. It stays accessible throughout and reads about as easily as NPR broadcasts are listenable.
Jul 06, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommend to anybody interested in classical music. It's just plain helpful and interesting.
Mar 30, 2010 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a complete novice when it comes to any kind of music, and classical is especially intimidating. This is not to say that I have not found enjoyment in it-- if I hadn't found pleasure despite my state of ignorance, I don't think I would have taken the time to read this book! I am glad to know just a little more, and I can tell a small difference in the way I listen. It is even better now that I know what I am supposed to be observing! Thanks NPR!
Feb 11, 2008 Leanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up with classical music (my mother was a music major and church organist), but being a kid and then a rebellious teen I didn't pay much attention.

Am just browsing this book and then listening to whatever looks interesting. It's like rediscovering a lost country.
Juli Anna Herndon
A decent overview for those just dipping in their toes. Informative, but the author's voice is a little-bit watered-down and overly-PC. Uses the word "arguably" far too often.
Succinct summary of key classical music terms. Would have made more sense to organize several key portions chronologically instead of alphabetically.
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