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The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide
— —
Anthony Tommasini
The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide by Anthony Tommasini at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide

Anthony Tommasini


9781594205934

Penguin Press


Music;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


Hardback

496 pages

$54.95
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An exploration into the question of greatness from the Chief Classical Music Critic of the New York Times When he began to listen to the great works of classical music as a child, Anthony Tommasini had many questions. Why did a particular piece move him? How did the music work? Over time, he realized that his passion for this music was not enough. He needed to understand it. Take Bach, for starters. Who was he? How does one account for his music and its unshakeable hold on us today?

As a critic, Tommasini has devoted particular attention to living composers and overlooked repertory. But, like all classical music lovers, the canon has remained central for him. In 2011, in his role as the Chief Classical Music Critic for the New York Times,he wrote a popular series in which he somewhat cheekily set out to determine the all-time top ten composers. Inviting input from readers, Tommasini wrestled with questions of greatness. Readers joined the exercise in droves. Some railed against classical music's obsession with greatness but then raged when Mahler was left off the final list. This intellectual game reminded them why they loved music in the first place.

Now in THE INDISPENSABLE COMPOSERS, Tommasini offers his own personal guide to the canon--and what greatness really means in classical music. What does it mean to be canonical now? Who gets to say? And do we have enough perspective on the 20th century to even begin assessing it? To make his case, Tommasini draws on elements of biography, the anxiety of influence, the composer's relationships with colleagues, and shifting attitudes toward a composer's work over time. Because he has spent his life contemplating these titans, Tommasini shares impressions from performances he has heard or given or moments when his own biography proves revealing.

As he argues for his particular pantheon of indispensable composers, Anthony Tommasini provides a masterclass in what to listen for and how to understand what music does to us.

By:   Anthony Tommasini
Imprint:   Penguin Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 242mm,  Width: 161mm,  Spine: 38mm
Weight:   771g
ISBN:   9781594205934
ISBN 10:   1594205930
Pages:   496
Publication Date:   March 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Anthony Tommasini is the chief classical music critic for the New York Times. He graduated from Yale University, and later earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Boston University. He is the author of three books, including a biography of the composer and critic Virgil Thomson. As a pianist, he made two recordings of Thomson's music on the Northeastern label which were supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


A spirited musical compendium to the best of the best...[Tommasini's] goal is to keep his assessments simple, insightful, and jargon-free, and he succeeds...Entertaining, highly enthusiastic, and very knowledgeable, he's the perfect guide [to the great composers]...all exuberantly presented for your edification and enjoyment. --Kirkus Insightful...Tommasini twines engaging biographical sketches of the maestros and their tragic ailments, love affairs, and endless scrambles for money with appreciations of masterpieces, the latter enriched by his memories of hearing and performing them...he excels at the difficult task of capturing music in words...The result is an engrossing study that will appeal to both classical music aficionados and novice listeners who want a road map. --Publishers Weekly A treasure trove of biographical information and a primer on the language and notation of music itself...Tommasini makes a potentially dry and academic subject accessible. --Library Journal Anthony Tommasini's book is itself indispensable--not only for those who already know how immortal are Monteverdi, Bach, Haydn down to Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bart k, but for those who want to read Tommasini's take on what makes our great composers lifelong companions we like to take wherever we go and would ask/want nothing more than to hear a few last notes from before leaving them forever. --Andr Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name Anthony Tommasini is an engaging, authoritative guide to the careers and works of great composers. Writing accessibly about even the more technical aspects of the music, he shares what these creations have meant to him in ways that should also make them essential listening for his readers. --Walter Frisch, H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music at Columbia University and author of Arlen and Harburg's Over the Rainbow Few critics in history have been as rigorously trained or deeply versed in music as Tony Tommasini. Page after page of this exuberant book show not only his comprehensive knowledge -- he writes with the music under his fingers -- but also his infectious love for the great classical repertory. --Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise

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