Great Composers

Piero Ventura, Author Putnam Publishing Group $25.95 (124p) ISBN 978-0-399-21746-3
In the same format as his Great Painters , Ventura here traces the history of Western music through short biographies of its most illustrious composers. Running chronologically from Gregory the Great in the sixth century to George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and, interestingly, the Beatles in the 20th, Ventura's portraits of major musical figures reflect--in his painting style--the musical style of the subject. For example, Bach is portrayed crisply, with not a hair out of place, while Debussy's bust is painted in a more impressionistic manner. The large-sized portraits are lightened by soft, cartoonlike watercolors of textually appropriate backdrops; the street in Eisenstadt where Haydn once lived, or a boat trip on the Thames River, the inspiration for Handel's Water Music. Though the book falls short of the benchmark set by Great Painters --pictures of paintings being far more immediate than portraits of creators of sound--it still serves as an entertaining introduction to music's history and to the lives of those who made it. All ages. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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