The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music

Ted Libbey, Author Workman Publishing $29.95 (979p) ISBN 978-0-7611-3642-2
""No one book can include everything that's important to everybody,"" notes music critic Libbey in his introduction, and the flawed work that follows confirms this. Limited space and Libbey's emphasis on popular performers reduces the volume's historical comprehensiveness (Hilary Hahn appears but not Reynaldo Hahn). The book targets the general public, which may explain its superficiality but not some missed chances at educating people. Libbey erroneously states Mahler was ousted from the Vienna Hofoper, when he asked to be released; he also neglects to note that the main Allegro theme of Saint-Sa\xEBns's Third Symphony (""Organ"") is based on a melody associated with Liszt, the work's dedicatee. The misguided pop-culture tone of the tome is exemplified by photos of F. Murray Abraham as Salieri and Tom Hulce as Mozart in Amadeus in their respective entries, reinforcing the fictional Hollywood imagery of real people. Nevertheless, this is a good book for those curious about terminology and names they encounter in broadcasts or CD booklets. Some entries are gathered into thematic sections, such as ""exotic instruments,"" ""American Mavericks"" and ""New Voices"" (i.e. young composers), that will help direct a reader's exploration of the repertoire. Additionally, a companion website has free audio links to over 500 pieces mentioned in the book. Hundreds of b&w photos.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 979 pages - 978-0-7611-2072-8
Ebook - 928 pages - 978-0-7611-5375-7
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