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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music: But Were Too Afraid to Ask (Classic FM)

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Are you unsure of the difference between an alto and a contralto? Ever wondered exactly how a trumpet’s valves work? Or where Beethoven got his magisterial inspiration from, despite being profoundly deaf? Drawing on the unparalleled expertise of Classic FM, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music... But Were Afraid to Ask dives underneath the sheet music to Are you unsure of the difference between an alto and a contralto? Ever wondered exactly how a trumpet’s valves work? Or where Beethoven got his magisterial inspiration from, despite being profoundly deaf? Drawing on the unparalleled expertise of Classic FM, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music... But Were Afraid to Ask dives underneath the sheet music to bring the world of classical music to life. Perfect for beginners and intermediates alike – as well as revealing some hidden treasures that even experts will be surprised by – Darren Henley’s witty and knowledgeable writing offers insights into the composition of an orchestra, the workings of its instruments and the lives and creativity of composers both old and new. Charting the development of classical music through its composers and their eras, it is a perfect easy-to-pick-up-and-read gift or the self-purchase that means you need never fear getting your librettos and arias mixed up at the opera again. 'Drawing from their vast experience in making classical music available, Mssrs. Henley and Jackson have crafted a thoroughly enjoyable work that is of value both to the newcomer to classical music as well as the more seasoned aficionado. They approach the subject with both a love of music and a strong awareness of the reluctance many people have to become involved with this musical form ... a relaxed, informative, and eminently enjoyable introduction to the field of classical music.' --Donald F Calbreath, New York Journal of Books


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Are you unsure of the difference between an alto and a contralto? Ever wondered exactly how a trumpet’s valves work? Or where Beethoven got his magisterial inspiration from, despite being profoundly deaf? Drawing on the unparalleled expertise of Classic FM, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music... But Were Afraid to Ask dives underneath the sheet music to Are you unsure of the difference between an alto and a contralto? Ever wondered exactly how a trumpet’s valves work? Or where Beethoven got his magisterial inspiration from, despite being profoundly deaf? Drawing on the unparalleled expertise of Classic FM, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music... But Were Afraid to Ask dives underneath the sheet music to bring the world of classical music to life. Perfect for beginners and intermediates alike – as well as revealing some hidden treasures that even experts will be surprised by – Darren Henley’s witty and knowledgeable writing offers insights into the composition of an orchestra, the workings of its instruments and the lives and creativity of composers both old and new. Charting the development of classical music through its composers and their eras, it is a perfect easy-to-pick-up-and-read gift or the self-purchase that means you need never fear getting your librettos and arias mixed up at the opera again. 'Drawing from their vast experience in making classical music available, Mssrs. Henley and Jackson have crafted a thoroughly enjoyable work that is of value both to the newcomer to classical music as well as the more seasoned aficionado. They approach the subject with both a love of music and a strong awareness of the reluctance many people have to become involved with this musical form ... a relaxed, informative, and eminently enjoyable introduction to the field of classical music.' --Donald F Calbreath, New York Journal of Books

30 review for Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music: But Were Too Afraid to Ask (Classic FM)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    THE CLASSICAL FM HANDY GUIDES TO EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CLASSICAL MUSIC Written by Darren Henley 2012, 224 Pages Genre: music, nonfiction (I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) ★★★1/2 Since I was a little I have been attracted to classical music. I would listen to opera on the radio and have no clue what they were saying but just loved the intensity of vocal and music. This was a cool book to read over time. It gives you not just the description of d THE CLASSICAL FM HANDY GUIDES TO EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CLASSICAL MUSIC Written by Darren Henley 2012, 224 Pages Genre: music, nonfiction (I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) ★★★1/2 Since I was a little I have been attracted to classical music. I would listen to opera on the radio and have no clue what they were saying but just loved the intensity of vocal and music. This was a cool book to read over time. It gives you not just the description of different music but it also gives you the history around the time that that music was "born" and popular. It's an easy read as it is more than just a reference book, but it can start to drag if you try to read it cover to cover.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ZaraS *book reviewer

    I absolutely loved this book. In fact, I loved it so much that I intend on buying myself a copy. This book has helped me understand a number of musical terms which helps me feel connected to what is called 'classical music'. This book is written with a great balance of brevity, hilarity and seriousness where needed. It doesn't use a lot of technical jargon which means it is very user friendly and enables people like myself, who doesn't unnderstand musical terminology, to get an insight into this t I absolutely loved this book. In fact, I loved it so much that I intend on buying myself a copy. This book has helped me understand a number of musical terms which helps me feel connected to what is called 'classical music'. This book is written with a great balance of brevity, hilarity and seriousness where needed. It doesn't use a lot of technical jargon which means it is very user friendly and enables people like myself, who doesn't unnderstand musical terminology, to get an insight into this type of music. There are many pieces of classical music named to give you an example of the type of music they're talking about. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to understand classical far better than they do but they don't want to have to get a degree to do it. Well done to the authors of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Good, easy read, perfect for those who just starting to find out more about classical music. Not boring or stuffy in the least. Highly recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    The perfect book for those who like classical music, but don't know the first thing about it. A nice little reference with a dictionary of music terms, a breakdown of music history by era, and mini-biographies of the world's great composers listing some of their signature works, "Everything" has just the right amount of information. The authors even had me chuckling a few times. Only one thing missing: a companion disc to give the reader a sampling of the music discussed. I think I may have to b The perfect book for those who like classical music, but don't know the first thing about it. A nice little reference with a dictionary of music terms, a breakdown of music history by era, and mini-biographies of the world's great composers listing some of their signature works, "Everything" has just the right amount of information. The authors even had me chuckling a few times. Only one thing missing: a companion disc to give the reader a sampling of the music discussed. I think I may have to buy this book to have on hand as a guide for checking out classical CDs at the library, and to use as a reference to help get maximum enjoyment out of the music as I listen. Even though it's a quick, easy read, there's a lot of information packed into this book, and I can imagine using it often.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Viv

    I couldn't put it down! It was so interesting, despite it's simple chronological format. It was such a good idea to write the history of classical music his way! I couldn't put it down! It was so interesting, despite it's simple chronological format. It was such a good idea to write the history of classical music his way!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Classic FM's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music: But Were Too Afraid to Ask is a decent introduction to classical music for any newcomers to the genre. It assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader and is written in a clear and accessible way throughout, balancing a decent level of technical detail with more light-hearted and informal commentary. A helpful section at the start of the book aims to de-mystify the genre by providing simple definitions of the non-Eng Classic FM's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music: But Were Too Afraid to Ask is a decent introduction to classical music for any newcomers to the genre. It assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader and is written in a clear and accessible way throughout, balancing a decent level of technical detail with more light-hearted and informal commentary. A helpful section at the start of the book aims to de-mystify the genre by providing simple definitions of the non-English terminology often used in classical music (e.g. staccato vs legato, adagio vs allegro), and the rest of the book is largely devoted to the key periods of classical music (early music; baroque; classical music; early romanticism; late romanticism; 20th century; 21st century), the key composers from those periods, and the key pieces of music to listen to. The major limitation of the book is one that is shared with all books on classical music - it is far better to teach somebody about classical music by actually letting them listen to it, rather than attempting to describe it in words. For that reason, I'd recommend the reader takes this one slowly, with YouTube open so that s/he can listen to snippets of the various pieces that are recommended. Other than that (unavoidable) issue, I would just say that occasionally the priorities felt a bit off. For example, I question whether the novice reader really cares about the merits of different classical music record labels, and I felt the space might have been better used by describing in more detail the identifying characteristics of the different periods of classical music, as this was a little rushed. Still, overall, I think this will be a valuable read for somebody looking to dip their toe into the world of classical music. 6/10

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mueller

    Excellent introduction to classical music! This book did a wonderful job covering all the important composers of each period without getting too bogged down with the technical jargon, and the writer had a wonderful voice that kept drier parts understandable while also displaying a fine-tuned sense of humor. The fact alone that there's an entire chapter dedicated to the hilariously mean things composers said about one another's work is proof of that. I'd highly recommend for anyone wanting to lea Excellent introduction to classical music! This book did a wonderful job covering all the important composers of each period without getting too bogged down with the technical jargon, and the writer had a wonderful voice that kept drier parts understandable while also displaying a fine-tuned sense of humor. The fact alone that there's an entire chapter dedicated to the hilariously mean things composers said about one another's work is proof of that. I'd highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn a little more about classical music. It's a lot easier than a music minor. Trust me on this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book is an excellent introduction to classical music. I imagine it's a difficult read if you are absolutely new to classical music. But if you're already familiar and want to broaden your knowledge and understanding, this is a useful book. I learned so much, and found so many new and great composers! This book is an excellent introduction to classical music. I imagine it's a difficult read if you are absolutely new to classical music. But if you're already familiar and want to broaden your knowledge and understanding, this is a useful book. I learned so much, and found so many new and great composers!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

    3.5 stars. Nothing much to report. Interesting, well written read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karan

    Essentially the same book as "Everything You wanted to know about Classical Music... But were afraid to ask" but with an added padding of period-specific playlists of some of the most epoch-defining pieces of music by the Greats. For me (your average Western classical music listener and non-musician), this volume has been instrumental in serialising the composers and music-eras in my head and playing a mental Spot-the-Era while listening to radio into a bit of a pastime. I think if you are curio Essentially the same book as "Everything You wanted to know about Classical Music... But were afraid to ask" but with an added padding of period-specific playlists of some of the most epoch-defining pieces of music by the Greats. For me (your average Western classical music listener and non-musician), this volume has been instrumental in serialising the composers and music-eras in my head and playing a mental Spot-the-Era while listening to radio into a bit of a pastime. I think if you are curious and somewhat overwhelmed by the randomness in the variety of music that tends to play from the variety shows in most classical radio programs, investing yourself in the book's mission is a great way to let yourself get familiar with the musical disciplines and arrangements just to have a sense of evolution of music creation in the West (and mentally lose yourself in the eras from which the respective soundscapes emerged, and the musical missions that the contemporary classical music writers and conductors are taking). Henley writes crisply, cannot help inserting rare composers and trivia (a lifetime of penning about and broadcasting classical music behind him!), is accessible at all time and refreshingly secular giving due credence to the contemporary movie and game soundtracks. The book is leaner than the previous edition and in about the same number of pages, it packs in period-specific playlists, more biographical data (saved space by letting composers' name and years of life to flow with the text). In all this is a nifty little car-pocket or desktop reference for a page or so on the lodestars and forgotten galaxies of little known composers who have helped define and refine the Western musical universe although I hope that everyone investing in this understand the bombastic promise behind the title. Other than the serialisation and biographical notes of chief (and less heard) composers, there are very few lines expended on deconstructing the motifs and elements of the classical music's various forms down the years. It's certainly a wonderful aid to everything you want to know about it, but let's not call this "everything".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    It was a really simple, to-the-point and informative guide to beginning a journey into classical music. I enjoyed its own history of classical music throughout the ages, and the way it successfully made me curious about the composers it chose. One thing I would recommend for anyone reading it though is that you should keep a list of the pieces recommended because let me tell you - there are a lot of them. A lot. 1600 years worth of classical music condensed still adds up to a lot of music. Espec It was a really simple, to-the-point and informative guide to beginning a journey into classical music. I enjoyed its own history of classical music throughout the ages, and the way it successfully made me curious about the composers it chose. One thing I would recommend for anyone reading it though is that you should keep a list of the pieces recommended because let me tell you - there are a lot of them. A lot. 1600 years worth of classical music condensed still adds up to a lot of music. Especially if your book is a borrowed copy, then skip the Hall of Fame chapter (the authors even warn the reader that those chapters are meant for reference, not for continuous reading) and look it up on the Classic FM website instead...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    A great resource! Well-written, perfectly edited, well-organized. Ah, there is so much in this book! Contains interesting biographies of 107 top composers -- divided into the different eras of classical music, including present time. Covers the history of classical music over 1000 years, up to the present. Plus, a time-line of composers including what else was going on in the world at the time. The authors are associated with a British Classical Music Radio Station. They list the top 300 favorit A great resource! Well-written, perfectly edited, well-organized. Ah, there is so much in this book! Contains interesting biographies of 107 top composers -- divided into the different eras of classical music, including present time. Covers the history of classical music over 1000 years, up to the present. Plus, a time-line of composers including what else was going on in the world at the time. The authors are associated with a British Classical Music Radio Station. They list the top 300 favorite classical works of the British listeners. Great list! The only downside for we Americans is that we cannot access their website.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Classical music is extremely difficult topic to tackle as an amateur and often quite overwhelming. As an amateur myself, Classic FM books and their website are the best starters. They are simple to understand and with their insight, it offers a great shortcut to learn and love all there is to know about classical music! Definitely a great way to learn all the essentials of classical music, even for non-amateurs.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Palermo

    Very quick and simple read. The format is disappointing. It divides the composers up by periods and the largest chunk of the book is dedicated to speeding through 100+ composers. Would have preferred more time spent on discussing the evolution of classical music rather than superficial bios of composers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Seawood

    Handy intro to classical music terms. Good timeline of composers and their influence with lots of recommendations. Sadly the tables are poorly formatted for the Kindle so these are next to useless, but overall if you want to slot composers into the evolution of music, this is a good guide.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joe Sampson

    A well written concise book about classical music.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    A brief history of some of the notable composers throughout Classical music. Reads a little bit like pub trivia at times but the 'Handy Playlist' guides at the end of the chapter are invaluable. A brief history of some of the notable composers throughout Classical music. Reads a little bit like pub trivia at times but the 'Handy Playlist' guides at the end of the chapter are invaluable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    On loan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Svetlana

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary M

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miles Curtis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Don Fischer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richard Stableford

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Hernandez

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Askew

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ros Parker

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pedro López

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