The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide

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The Indispensable Composers, A Personal Guide from Anthony Tommasini is a fascinating attempt to ascertain who are the most important composers for a classical music cannon. Dr. Tommasini is a musician and piano player who completed a doctorate in musical arts and is the chief classical music critic for The New York Times. What is found here are some of his critical ruminations in a dense and erudite book that explores the history of the composers through their times. Though some would restrict the list of top composers to ten, Tommasini writes short biographical treatments, usually around twenty pages each, for twice that number.

In the introduction, the author tells some of his personal experiences in music and explains how he plans to explore the subject with his readers. The composers included in this book are Claudio Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Debussy, Puccini, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartok. Even with a long list like this, there are some missing, particularly modern composers.

Tommasini has an insider’s knowledge of music and composition, bringing some clarity to the music that some might find chaotic. He also has verve, critical perspective, and a deep appreciation and understanding. One can see here the results of a career in the field. This is a great story in the entire, but some might just like to focus on their favorites or who they are going to see pieces by the next time they make it to see classical music.

Reviewed By:

Author Anthony Tommasini
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 496 pages
Publisher Penguin Press
Publish Date 2018-11-06
ISBN 9781594205934
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Music & Movies


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