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#970846 - 07/13/06 10:26 AM YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
A short time ago, someone (bless his/her heart) suggested I read: "The Lives of Great Composers" by Schonberg. I finally got a copy from the library (took 5 months) and I don't ever remember enjoying reading a book so much.

It contains short (6-8 pages) of the lives and music of famous composers, starting with Claudio Monteverdi...a pioneer of the opera, going through Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Liszt, Chopin and so many other greats.

The details of some of their lives would curl your hair. Especially Berlioz and Scriabin (Wow...what a character).

However, aside from the personal information, the author speaks of their music and describes much of it so wonderfully that you want to rush out and buy it all.

I loved the book so much that I had to have my own copy (for reference) and ordered a older edition from Amazon for $8.

If you want to fill in your knowledge of music and composers, this is the book that will do it. It will definitely make you appreciate what some of the composers went through in order to create and leave us such beautiful legacies.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#970847 - 07/13/06 10:30 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Thanks, Kathleen. I have so many gaps in my knowledge of classical composers that it's more appropriate to call it the Grand Canyon.

Another book that does the same sort of thing but in a totally humorous way is one I learned about from pianojerome: Barber's "Bach, Beethoven, and the Boys." Think of it as music history told in Dave Barry comedic style. It is so entertaining that my 10-yr-old is reading it. \:\)
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#970848 - 07/13/06 11:36 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Thanks, Monica, the book you mentioned sounds great. I check it out on Amazon.

I have about 500 books in my "library," and there all thrillers, etc.

I just started building a classical library on Sunday and ordered about 12 books on Chopin plus the one I mentioned by Schoenberg. In time, I intend to fill it up with other composers...when I can afford it.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#970849 - 07/15/06 09:57 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
Kathleen, thanks for that book! I've borrowed it from the library and have just begun reading. We leave for a convention on Tuesday evening (no piano for a whole week!! aaahhh)and I will be taking it with me. It's just what I've been looking for!! Between that and the scores with CDs that I have (and er....um....my fold-up paper piano :rolleyes: ), I'll survive without my piano... (I think). My husband will have meetings for the first couple of days so I'll sink myself into my books and CDs. Isn't it terrible, a whole week away and a big part of me is worried about not practicing and missing it.....totally addicted.... \:D
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#970850 - 07/15/06 10:08 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
SandyMore: I returned from just a four day trip to Vegas last Sunday. I, too, was worried about not practicing and thought I could find a piano somewhere in one of the casinos on which I could sneak in a few minutes of playing here and there. No such luck, no piano in sight.

But when I returned, I didn't find I had not lost much. Of course, I don't have that much to lose!

I KNOW you will absolutely love that book. I have jumped around a bit in reading the biographies of the composers I love the most. Wait until you read about Scriabin and Berlioz. Unbelievable!

Also so interesting about so many other lives. I gained new respect for many of them, including Schumann, Schubert and, of course, Chopin.

As I mentioned, I thought it was a book to own. So I ordered a copy from Amazon.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#970851 - 07/15/06 10:24 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
psychopianoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 608
Loc: Oklahoma
I picked up a set of videos from the library that was done by A&E and it was good. It went over all the masters of classical music. They were like 30 to 40 min. videos each.

You might look for them or check out the A&E web-site.
_________________________
pianolessonaddicts.com

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#970852 - 07/15/06 09:29 PM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
gilad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 271
Loc: south africa
thanks loveschopintomuch, i will check out that book soon i hope.
at the moment im reading one called chopin's funeral, its ironically been about his life so far \:D . pretty good, i must say.

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#970853 - 07/15/06 11:13 PM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Gilad:

It is very good.

What I have discovered after reading about 10 different Chopin biographies that there are many contradictions (which isn't too hard to understand, I suppose).

I'm currently reading "Chopin Letters." How wonderfully sweet and joyful he was as a young boy and man. So tragic as his letters go on, that that joy has all but disappeared. It's a good book also because it give us some insight on what he was thinking about when he composed some of his best known works. The only book I've come across, so far, that has been able to do this.

A fast quip: At the age of 8, he performed a concert for the Tsar and Tsarzina at their castle. Also attending was everyone who was anyone at that time in Warsaw. They all stood afterewards and cheered, many with tears in their eyes. They couldn't believe that such music could come from such a small child.

When he got home, Chopin's mother asked him what he thought the audience liked most about him. He answered: "The white collar you made for me, Mama."

Even at a young age, he loved to dress well.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#970854 - 07/16/06 08:44 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
Waterfall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 293
Loc: North Carolina
Good book. I also love "The Great Pianists," also by Schonberg.

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#970855 - 07/16/06 09:55 AM Re: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
I have that one also. Just started reading it. I love the author. He can bring out the negatives aspects of a composer/pianist, but always ends on the positive.

He also wrote: "The Glorious Ones," which I ordered from Amazon.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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