Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day

Clemency Burton-Hill. Harper, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-285620-3
BBC radio host Burton-Hill (The Other Side of the Stars) is an evangelist for classical music, arguing that it enriches peoples’ lives, and she’s devised this welcoming day-by-day listening guide for readers new to the form. For each day of the year, she suggests one short piece—no longer than seven minutes—and provides brief reflections it that describe the historical and social context of the music and the artist who composed it. The selections illustrate the stunning variety of classical music, ranging from familiar works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart to less familiar works by Delhi-born Param Vir and Hildegard of Bingen, whose “O virtus sapientiae,” Burton-Hill notes, “was written nearly a thousand years ago, by a very busy nun.” She introduces listeners to Symphony in G Major by Joseph Boulange, the 18th-century artist generally regarded as the first classical composer of African ancestry and often called the black Mozart. She recommends 19th-century composer Vincenzo Bellini’s “Casta Diva” from the opera Norma because it is a bel canto classic with graceful, flowing curves in the music. Burton-Hill’s delightful and informative guide provides a daily dose of the beauty of classical music and also an enticing introduction to it. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 11/01/2018
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4722-5183-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-286668-4
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