OVERRIDE

The Essential Canon of Classical Music

David Dubal

North Point Press

The ultimate guide to classical composers and their music-for both the novice and the experienced listener

Music, according to Aaron Copland, can thrive only if there are "gifted listeners." But today's listeners must choose between classical and rock, opera and rap, and the choices can seem overwhelming at times. In The Essential Canon of Classical Music, David Dubal comes to the aid of the struggling listener and provides a cultural-literacy handbook for classical music. Dubal identifies the 240 composers whose works are most important to an understanding of classical music and offers a comprehensive, chronological guide to their lives and works. He has searched beyond the traditional canon to introduce readers to little-known works by some of the most revered names in classical music-Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert-as well as to the major works of lesser-known composers. In a spirited and opinionated voice, Dubal seeks to rid us of the notion of "masterpieces" and instead to foster a new generation of master listeners. The result is an uncommon collection of the wonders classical music has to offer.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Essential Canon of Classical Music
PART ONETHE MEDIEVAL, RENAISSANCE, AND ELIZABETHAN AGESWe can only speculate about the origins of music, but its seemingly magical qualities must have been apparent early in human prehistory. Primitive music of some sort probably preceded speech by thousands of years. Those with unusual vocal abilities may have used their power in rituals or to convey messages over a distance. These ancient singers, like their brothers the cave painters, may even have been privileged members of the clan. But it was a long time before people started making vocal utterances
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Essential Canon of Classical Music

"This is a music literacy handbook packed full of useful information that every musician and music lover needs almost daily" --The Tampa Tribune

"The Essential Canon of Classical Music is a terrific book. David Dubal's spirited essays are wonderful introductions to the composers, and his vivid descriptions of the music and recommendations of recordings are invaluable. This book has something for everyone, from the beginner to the sophisticated listener. It has a permanent resting place on my CD player."--Tony Randall

"No one writes more cogently on music than David Dubal. I learned a lot. Dubal instructs even as he entertains. And he cares deeply." --Ned Rorem

"A true classic of the genre . . . Dubal's solid book is a valuable work of reference, and a musical education in itself." --National Review

"The book will please those systematically assembling a library of classical recordings and those simply wanting help at the music store." --Houston Chronicle

"David Dubal is a truly gifted explainer of the classical repertoire."-- Buffalo News

"Rich and instructive." --New York Observer

"Provides useful guideposts for the lay reader." --Symphony

"Here at last is a work that bears nothing in common with the arid machinations of the academic encyclopedists. Instead Dubal offers adroitly written vignettes about every major and more than a few minor composers. Obliterating both myth and shallow idolatry with his keen wit, lively prose and comprehensive scholarship, Dubal minces no words, revealing in every case much of his subject idiosyncratic peccadilloes." --The Times [St. Petersburg Florida]
"This is a music literacy handbook packed full of useful information that every musician and music lover needs almost daily" --The Tampa Tribune

"The Essential Canon of Classical Music is a terrific book. David Dubal's spirited essays are wonderful introductions to the composers, and his vivid descriptions of the music and recommendations of recordings are invaluable. This book has something for everyone, from the beginner to the sophisticated listener. It has a permanent resting place on my CD player."--Tony Randall

"No one writes more cogently on music than David Dubal. I learned a lot. Dubal instructs even as he entertains. And he cares deeply." --Ned Rorem

"A true classic of the genre . . . Dubal's solid book is a valuable work of reference, and a musical education in itself." --National Review

"The book will please those systematically assembling a library of classical recordings and those simply wanting help at the music store." --Houston Chronicle

"David Dubal is a truly gifted explainer of the classical repertoire."-- Buffalo News

"Rich and instructive." --New York Observer

"Provides useful guideposts for the lay reader." --Symphony

"Here at last is a work that bears nothing in common with the arid machinations of the academic encyclopedists. Instead Dubal offers adroitly written vignettes about every major and more than a few minor composers. Obliterating both myth and shallow idolatry with his keen wit, lively prose and comprehensive scholarship, Dubal minces no words, revealing in every case much of his subject idiosyncratic peccadilloes." --The Times [St. Petersburg Florida]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • David Dubal

  • David Dubal, a professor of piano literature at the Juilliard School, was the classical-music program director at WNCN for more than twenty years. He is the author of many books and lives in New York City.
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Essential Canon of Classical Music

David Dubal

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

North Point Press

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