The New York Times Essential Library: Classical Music A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings

Allan Kozinn

Times Books



Trade Paperback

384 Pages



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For classical music lovers, there is nothing more beguiling and exciting than the range of technique and emotion that can capture or transform the great works in the hands of a conductor and musicians. But with hundreds of recordings released ever year—and with nearly as many classic performances from the past rejoining the active catalog—discovering the jewels is a challenge, for newcomers as well as for connoisseurs.

In one hundred original essays, New York Times classical music critic Allan Kozinn offers the ultimate collector's guide, a rich chronicle of the composers and performers who stir our souls. Kozinn takes you through the core repertory of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky, from the medieval meditations of Machaut, through the picturesque concertos of Vivaldi, Schubert's otherworldly lieder, the folk-inspired nobility of Mussorgsky, Dvorák, and Sibelius, and the blossoming of American sounds and the rise of minimalism. He considers the legacy of performers and conductors, including the early-music innovations of Sequentia, the idiosyncracies of Glenn Gould, and the far-reaching baton of Leonard Bernstein. He showers you with telling details, such as the antiaircraft explosions captured in harpsichordist Wanda Landowska's 1940 Paris recordings of Scarlatti sonatas, and explores the personal and historical context of every work. Kozinn's essays on the most dazzling classical recordings available provide both practical guidance for building a library and deep insight into the transcendent power of classical music.


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The New York Times Essential Library: Classical Music
1. HILDEGARD OF BINGENO JerusalemSEQUENTIA (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472-77353-2)Includes the title work as well as Quia felix puerita--Magnificat, O felix apparitio, O beatissime Ruperte, O tu illustrata, Cum erubuerint, O frondens virga--Gloria patri--Ave generosa, O quam preciosa, O ignee spiritus, O quam magnum miraculum est, and instrumental works.Recorded 1995It took until the second half of the twentieth century for women to come into their own as composers, that is, for more than one or two to be recognized as important voices in
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  • Allan Kozinn

  • Allan Kozinn is a classical music critic for The New York Times. Before joining the staff of the Times in 1991, he was a contributing editor for the classical music magazines High Fidelity, Opus, and Keynote, and he was the music critic for The New York Observer. He lives in New York City.