Essential reading for newbie

Locked
taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Essential reading for newbie

Post by taisiawshan » Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:14 am

Hi, I'm a newbie in classical music.
I need advices from you guys about what kind of essential reading I should do.
I learned piano long time ago, theory up to grade 6. However, forgotten most of them.
Then, I read this book: Classical Music 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music By: Fred Plotkin (Author)
but felt that it's not enough.
I'm also interested in biographies. Can you guys suggested a few for me, of any composers or musicians?
Thanks.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:35 am

Shan!!!!

Welcome to the board. Thanks for coming out from behind the arras. It's a pleasure to see you!

I recommend Ernest Newman's Stories of Famous Operas and More Stories of Famous Operas. Newman does excellent analyses of the music rather than just mere plot summaries, esp. how the composer uses music to describe character. William Mann does similar even more so analyses of Mozart's operas and Strauss'. The thing to understand is that these books are not just about operas; they are about training your ear to hear music as characterization.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:00 am

Corylss,
Thanks for the suggestion.
But the problem is that I haven't listened to any opera yet, and I can't get one now until next year.
Do you still think it will do me good?
If yes, then I'll order from the Amazon.
Any more suggestions from anyone?

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:43 pm

taisiawshan wrote:Do you still think it will do me good?
If yes, then I'll order from the Amazon.
Any more suggestions from anyone?
That's a hard question for me to answer. When I started reading Newman with the operas at my side, what I learned from reading Newman had an immediate impact on my listening across the board. But I started out with the operas. If you can't listen to the operas until next year, maybe save Newman for then. He wrote a lot - as critic for a London paper - about music of all kinds, but his writings on Wagner and on operas have staying power.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:42 pm

Corylss,
Thanks. I'll consider about it myself.

P.S. This is the first time I encounter "Corylss". Always double check the spelling before posting.
And I don't know how it should sound.
:wink:

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:50 pm

I think some of you might think that it's hard to recommend anything because you don't know my knowledge of classical music & my level of listening skill.

So, I'll make it easier.
Can anyone tell me which book or what kind of reading has inspired you or lead you to classical music? Or which book has enhanced your listening skill?

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:57 pm

taisiawshan wrote:Corylss,
Thanks. I'll consider about it myself.

P.S. This is the first time I encounter "Corylss". Always double check the spelling before posting.
And I don't know how it should sound.
:wink:
You are not alone. It's pronounced "Kor less"

It's a Southeren thang. I've never heard of anyone with the name except the Corliss Lamonts and Lamont Corliss' who wasn't from the south.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:00 pm

I casually know Fred Plotkin and will mention your post the next time I see him.

My recommendation is BBC Music Magazine, a monthly that comes with a free, complete CD of often well performed, interesting works. The articles are excellent.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:10 am

I've made this topic a temporary sticky so it might attract the attention of some of our well-read members who might suggest something for Shan.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

RebLem
Posts: 8724
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:20 am

I recommend the ALL MUSIC GUIDE TO CLASSICAL MUSIC. Lots of biographies of composers, conductors, and definitions of terms. The quality of their recommendations on recordings in variable, but its better than in any other book I have come across, and it has chapters on general music appreciation and essays on different periods of music as well. Its fairly fine print and extends to 1,607 pages.and cost me $29.95 @ Borders.

Oh, I just noticed the blurb on the back with a few stats, LOL. 1,500 biographies of composers and performers, 4,000 descriptions of composers' works, , 12,000 recordings recommended, 360 opera and ballet synopses, concise essays on major classical periods and genres, plus introductory essays from beginners.

Its 2 1/2 inches thick, and a very good start. :D
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

RebLem
Posts: 8724
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Post by RebLem » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:43 am

Oh, and I suspect that retail sources for classical music recordings may be limited out there in the Solomon Islands. I would like to recommend an Australian mail order source, www.buywell.com a cottage business, apparently, run by a guy named Richard Eddy out in Western Australia. They ship all over the world.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:44 pm

I'll throw in a couple more:

The New Your Philharmonic Guide to the Symphony by Edward Downes.

Lives of the Great Composers by Harold Schonberg

We'll talk about Early Music when you get that far back in time. 8)
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

IcedNote
Posts: 2913
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:24 pm
Location: NorCal

Post by IcedNote » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:35 pm

Charles Rosen

-G
Professional composer in a past life. Now just a humble hobbyist.

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:43 am

Thanks, much appreciated.

Regards,
Shan

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:06 am

Corlyss_D wrote: We'll talk about Early Music when you get that far back in time. 8)
Early Music is before Barouque Music?
Yeah, we'll get that far back in time, in that far forward in time. :wink:

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:15 pm

taisiawshan wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote: We'll talk about Early Music when you get that far back in time. 8)
Early Music is before Barouque Music?
Yup. Generally pre-Bach. 60 years ago, EM was Mozart. The boundary keep getting nudged back into history. My passion locates in the 1100-1750 range.
Yeah, we'll get that far back in time, in that far forward in time. :wink:
So true, when you have a group like the Hilliard Ensemble doing Part. "Everything old is new again."
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

DavidRoss
Posts: 3384
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 7:05 am
Location: Northern California

Post by DavidRoss » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:54 pm

For newbies I suggest Michael Walsh's Who's Afraid of Classical Music? A highly arbitrary, throughly opinionated guide to listening to and enjoying symphony, opera, and chamber music. It's brief, entertaining, and gives a fine overview. As the subtitle suggests, Walsh is upfront about his arbitrariness and prejudices and doesn't cloak them in pseudo-scientific "objectivity." Plotkin's book has value for "intermediate" listeners already generally familiar with the subject, but I suggest rank newbies steer clear of it lest it color their perceptions with egregious prejudices that might prove hard to shake.

BTW -- There's a sticky on this subject in the beginner's forum over at GMG that's been up for several months and has quite a few responses.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

Image

RebLem
Posts: 8724
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Post by RebLem » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:58 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
taisiawshan wrote:Corylss,
Thanks. I'll consider about it myself.

P.S. This is the first time I encounter "Corylss". Always double check the spelling before posting.
And I don't know how it should sound.
:wink:
You are not alone. It's pronounced "Kor less"

It's a Southeren thang. I've never heard of anyone with the name except the Corliss Lamonts and Lamont Corliss' who wasn't from the south.
I have a friend I used to work with named Corlyss Yasutake.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:27 am

RebLem wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
taisiawshan wrote:Corylss,
Thanks. I'll consider about it myself.

P.S. This is the first time I encounter "Corylss". Always double check the spelling before posting.
And I don't know how it should sound.
:wink:
You are not alone. It's pronounced "Kor less"

It's a Southeren thang. I've never heard of anyone with the name except the Corliss Lamonts and Lamont Corliss' who wasn't from the south.
I have a friend I used to work with named Corlyss Yasutake.
Are you serious???? Well that makes 5 I've heard of. I actually met one once, she was from North Carolina.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

ch1525
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:53 pm
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Post by ch1525 » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:48 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
taisiawshan wrote:Corylss,
Thanks. I'll consider about it myself.

P.S. This is the first time I encounter "Corylss". Always double check the spelling before posting.
And I don't know how it should sound.
:wink:
You are not alone. It's pronounced "Kor less"

It's a Southeren thang. I've never heard of anyone with the name except the Corliss Lamonts and Lamont Corliss' who wasn't from the south.
I have a friend I used to work with named Corlyss Yasutake.
Are you serious???? Well that makes 5 I've heard of. I actually met one once, she was from North Carolina.
The mother of one of my high school classmates was named Corlyss!

Richard
Posts: 275
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 9:04 pm

Post by Richard » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:06 pm

There was an old radio program, "Meet Corliss Archer", from the mid 40's until the early 50's. It may have had a short life on TV..but not sure.
I can't remember much about the old program. I, initially, thought the spelling was Korlyss..but it was Corliss. Don't know if she was from the south.

Dr Fager
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:27 am

Post by Dr Fager » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:02 pm

You should try the NPR Curious Listeners Guide to Classical Music.

For one its not "heavy" reading. Its a great book to read in passing. I have mine in the restroom 8) It has a brief synopsis of music history, the great composers, conducters, top 50 works, top 50 cds, and a defintion list of need to know words.

As a fellow newb i highly recommend it. Just the sort of book i was hoping for before moving on to bigger and better things. Also beats buyng the "Classical Music for Dummies" book that i must admit i keep eyeing everytime i stop by the local bookstore. :D

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:43 pm

Richard wrote:There was an old radio program, "Meet Corliss Archer", from the mid 40's until the early 50's. It may have had a short life on TV..but not sure.
I can't remember much about the old program. I, initially, thought the spelling was Korlyss..but it was Corliss. Don't know if she was from the south.
Yes, I recall the show. I heard it on radio and saw it on TV. My mom probably got it from the radio show. I don't remember if she ever told me.
Dr Fager wrote:As a fellow newb i highly recommend it. Just the sort of book i was hoping for before moving on to bigger and better things. Also beats buyng the "Classical Music for Dummies" book that i must admit i keep eyeing everytime i stop by the local bookstore. :D
Getting us back on track here, Doc's recommendation, from newbie to newbie, is a good endorsement.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Cyril Ignatius
Posts: 1035
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:14 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:34 pm

A couple of lines of reading might be possible.

One is books providing an overview of different realms of claasical music. One of my favorites is Karl Haas book on music. He's an excellent source, a conductor, and weaves the essentials into a narrative that is interesting. And of course, a litttle pocket-size dictionary of music is essential and can be bought at Barnes and Noble for about 5 dollars.

Another great track is biographies of composers that you love, I have many of these. Some of my favorites are Egon Gartonburg who has books on the Strauss family (Johann) and also Josef Lanner. Gartonburg also has a great book "Vienna, It's Musical Heritage. Both of these books are highly recommended. Watson's biography of Bruckner and his music is a good overview. Another favorite is a book on accounts of Bruckner by his contemporaries.

The enormous Time Liife volume on Beethoven is fabulous. Excellent accounts of his music, his life and paintings of his world make this a winner. You may find it in large used bookstores. The recent biography "Beethoven" by Edmund Morris is an excellent look at the man himself and his struggles - gets more into things that paint a picture of Beethoven's interior life.

I'm currently reading Johnson's (1959?) biography of Sibelius and his music, and recommend this.

Gerringer's (??? I cant spell) biography of Brahms doesn't have the great old pictures that many books have, but the biography itself is first rate.

Bernard Grun's "Gold and Silver" is a great biography of Lehar and his times, and yes, with plenty of old pictures. And if you are new to classical music, you might consider diving into some Lehar music.

Those are a few of my favorites
Cyril Ignatius

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:28 am

That anyone would recommend Charles Rosen or a 1,600 page encyclopedia to a beginner displays severely bad judgement IMO.

I suggest "The Musical Companion" edited by A.L. Bacharach, - a much older (but constantly reprinted over the years) book than all the likely ephemeral "for dummies and idiots" guides and their clones, - (though if you're a dummy or idiot these might indeed be suitable).
Bacharach's book includes sections on general music history, elementary music theory, "how to" instruction for listening, concert etiquette (with a special section concerning tropical island venues), - followed by basic and accessible discussion of repertoire works in all the major compositional genres, - symphony, concerto, solo instrument, chamber, song, and choral.

As a good companion to "The Musical Companion" I would echo Corlyss (when did that last happen?) and mention again Schonberg's "Lives of the Great Composers", - though Richard Leonard's book "The Stream of Music" covers much of the same ground (compact composer biographies) in a far more fluent and stylish way.

Ken
Posts: 2511
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 6:17 am
Location: Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Post by Ken » Thu May 04, 2006 6:21 am

An excellent guide that I stumbled across is DK's 'Classical Music' guidebook. In the spirit of their colourful eyewitness travel guides, they arranged an exhaustive chronological dictionary of composers, complete with biographies and analyses of key works. The illustrations alone are worth the selling price!

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 04, 2006 1:28 pm

Welcome to the forum, Ken. Kick your shoes off and set a spell. Post early and often.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

mourningstar
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by mourningstar » Thu May 18, 2006 9:22 am

the all music guide encyclopedie, counting 1200 pages, did it for me :wink:

it will Learn you the basic knowledge and terms, and those things are crucial if you want to find out what kind of classical music you favour. Its like Icecream. the more flavours you know. the more you will enjoy from Icecream :P
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Thu May 25, 2006 3:50 am

I received my BBC Music yesterday, 2 issues, glad that they arrived here safely, with the CDs, incredible. :shock:
So excited that I couldn't put it down. Finished 1 & 1/2 of them already. I'm glad that I subcribe it.
Just finished listening the Pergolesi & Scarlatti Stabat Mater. Don't like Scarlatti's much. Pergolesi's sounds better to me with the strings.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 25, 2006 5:30 pm

taisiawshan wrote:Just finished listening the Pergolesi & Scarlatti Stabat Mater. Don't like Scarlatti's much. Pergolesi's sounds better to me with the strings.
Which Scarlatti? Domenico or Alessandro?
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

taisiawshan
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:36 pm
Location: Solomon Islands

Post by taisiawshan » Thu May 25, 2006 8:35 pm

Domenico Scarlatti is the one.
I played the CD the second time, and seemed to like it more. :)
I don't really know how to listen to choral music.

My parents love choral music, they participate very actively in Malaysia most active amateur choir. They always discuss about the "shen yue"(chinese word, don't know the english word for it). How one should sing. I always don't know what they mean as I don't know how to sing( i mean real singing with the use of the "air" inside our body).

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 25, 2006 9:11 pm

taisiawshan wrote:I played the CD the second time, and seemed to like it more. :)
I rarely hear a cd the first time thru too, unless it's an old familiar piece.
I don't really know how to listen to choral music.
I didn't know there was a special way. Just let the sound wash over you. Or hum along! :D
They always discuss about the "shen yue"(chinese word, don't know the english word for it). How one should sing.


Praxis? Techinque? Usually the technical aspects of breath control (lungs) and intonation (vocal chords) and attacks (starting the piece or section).

Choral leaders, did I miss anything?
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

mourningstar
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Post by mourningstar » Sun May 28, 2006 12:52 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
taisiawshan wrote:I played the CD the second time, and seemed to like it more. :)
I rarely hear a cd the first time thru too, unless it's an old familiar piece.
I don't really know how to listen to choral music.
I didn't know there was a special way. Just let the sound wash over you. Or hum along! :D
They always discuss about the "shen yue"(chinese word, don't know the english word for it). How one should sing.


Praxis? Techinque? Usually the technical aspects of breath control (lungs) and intonation (vocal chords) and attacks (starting the piece or section).

Choral leaders, did I miss anything?
to be honoust. I have never been big on choral music. its overreacted. everything from the amount of sound the instruments produce to the vocals.

I rather listen to (art) songs. and just the Opera. that will do. :wink:
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

Gregg
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:16 am

Post by Gregg » Tue May 30, 2006 8:52 am

Image


As a former comic book collector i remembered this, it's my only Corlyss knowledge. Not from my collection.

I'll add my 2 cents for Harold Schoenberg's book The Great Conductors and Great Pianists. Good beach reading.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue May 30, 2006 2:39 pm

Yeah, that was probably where my mom heard the name, when they created the radio program.

When I got to law school, one of the first cases in the contracts text was The Corliss Steam Engine case. I don't recall a thing about it. But here's the thing itself -

Image
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests