• Beethoven: The Relentless Revolutionary

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    Ludwig van Beethoven, for some listeners perhaps the greatest of all composers, is an enduringly fascinating subject for biographers.  A new biography of the composer, Beethoven: The Relentless Revolutionary by 19th Century cultural historian John Clubbe adds to the pile. His study departs from the musicological approach of Maynard Solomon, whose Beethoven (Schirmer 1977) remains a […]

  • Toscanini: Musician of Conscience

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    The biography of the great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) by Harvey Sachs was considered definitive when it was published in 1978. Sachs, who has devoted a lifetime of scholarship to the study of the life and career of Toscanini, has now published a new biography, Toscanini: Musician of Conscience (Norton 2016), that is far more […]

  • Welcome to the Symphony

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    Welcome to the Symphony text by Carolyn Sloan, illustrated by James Williamson (Workman Publishing Co. 2015/$24.95) The lament frequently heard is that music education is sorely neglected in this country. While that observation is less apt in Charlottesville than elsewhere, the fact remains that the level of musical understanding among young people generally is very […]

  • Four Centuries of Musical Instruments

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    This volume is a catalog of the rare and antique instruments in the Marlowe A. Sigal collection of Newton Centre, Massachusetts. The photographs taken by Mr. Sigal of the instruments in his collection are beautifully printed in glorious color reproductions by the publisher. It is a large format volume of about 300 pages, comprehensively indexed. […]

  • Anguish and Triumph – a new Beethoven biography

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    Why do we need a new biography of Beethoven, the facts of whose life are already well-known and whose works are among the most familiar in the entire repertoire?  Jan Swafford, composer, scholar, and distinguished biographer of Brahms and Charles Ives, answers that question handsomely in his new Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt […]

  • Richard Wagner : The Last of the Titans – flawed look at a flawed man

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    Few historical figures have had as much written about them as Richard Wagner. Despite the library shelves groaning with books about the Bayreuth Master, Joachim Köhler has added to the hoard with almost 700 pages of text, splendidly translated by Stewart Spencer.Wagner receives little sympathy from Köhler, and little attention is paid to the music. […]