Catalogue No: 9780195382532
Oxford's highly successful listener's guides--The Symphony, The Concerto, and Choral Masterworks--have been widely praised for their blend of captivating biography, crystal clear musical analysis, and delightful humor. Now James Keller follows these greatly admired volumes with Chamber Music. Approaching the tradition of chamber music with knowledge and passion, Keller here serves as the often opinionated, always genial guide to 192 essential works by 56 composers, providing illuminating essays on what makes each piece distinctive and admirable. Keller spans the history of this intimate genre of music, from key works of the Baroque through the emotionally stirring "golden age" of the Classical and Romantic composers, to modern masterpieces rich in political, psychological, and sometimes comical overtones. For each piece, from Bach through to contemporary figures like George Crumb and Steve Reich, the author includes an astute musical analysis that casual music lovers can easily appreciate yet that more experienced listeners will find enriching. Keller shares the colorful, often surprising stories behind the compositions while revealing the delights of an art form once described by Goethe as the musical equivalent of "thoughtful people conversing."
Depth combined with accessibility. These are the program notes readers will wish they could look forward to in concert programs.
Practicality. The works define a canon based on real-life exposure. This is therefore a practical listener's guide.
"James Keller's engaging essays do exactly what great program notes should: they transport us inside classical music's fascinating scenarios of creation. Choosing intelligently from myriad possible details, Keller weaves a story about each work that has the feeling of a suspense novel, where the thrilling final chapter will be our listening experience. When describing music he is the ideal tour guide, leading us on musical journeys with enthusiasm and authority. This will be a hard-to-put-down book for anyone, from the newly-curious to the seasoned expert. Keller has provided an essential volume that will take its rightful place among music's most authoritative sources." -- David Finckel and Wu Han, Artistic Directors, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
"A solid representation of musicians from a wide range of genres, time periods, and countries...Chamber Music: A Listener's Guide offers something to tempt even the most discriminating and academic individual." --New York Journal of Books
"The brief overviews of the standard repertoire are excellent and will certainly serve the intended audience...Essential." --Choice
"Even after a career spent immersed in chamber music, I gained new and fascinating insights from James Keller's essays. This is a book that enlightens professionals as well as general music-lovers. I am happy we have it!" -- Menahem Pressler, Beaux Arts Trio
"Chamber music is beloved by all musicians, and a reference such as this is welcome and needed. James Keller has given us a beautifully written guide that in a single volume targets appropriate repertoire for musicians and music-lovers. He clearly adores chamber music and, in his writing, conveys that love with passion and authority in a way that will enrich any listener or performer." -- Renee Fleming
520 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-538253-2
About the Author:
James Keller, longtime Program Annotator of the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, was awarded the prestigious ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for feature writing about music in Chamber Music magazine, where he has been Contributing Editor for more than a decade.
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