1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is the ultimate critical guide to history's greatest music. You'll find a mouthwatering choice of listening here: from Miles Davis's jazz landmark Kind of Blue (1959) to David Bowie's tragic final release Blackstar (2016), alongside groundbreaking releases by contemporary artists.
Explore musical history from the symphonic pop of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to the gargantuan grunge of Nirvana's Nevermind. As well as the acknowledged milestones without whi..
From 'Eight Miles High' to 'Empire State of Mind', from Mississippi to Mali and from Ella Fitzgerald to Elton John, 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die picks through nearly a century of music to bring you an inspiring selection of some of the greatest recordings ever made.
Each entry in this wonderfully browsable book tells the story of a great song. Find out what inspired the songwriter, what makes the track so enduring, which songs it influenced in turn and which cover version to listen o..
Do you know a capella from zarzuela, or your major from your minor? Can you distinguish between a serenade and a symphony? If you only have 30 seconds, there is time – using this book – to understand the creative journey taken by classical music from the Middle Ages to the modern era. Our early ancestors understood pitch and rhythm, the basic tools that have been worked and ordered by composers and performers over the past 400 years into an extraordinary body of music written for soloists, chamb..
'Beguiling ... Limpidly written, effortlessly learned' William Boyd, TLS, Books of the YearIn November 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognised as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism - his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island (these were still..
Claude Debussy was that rare creature, a composer who reinvented the language of music without alienating the majority of music lovers. He is the modernist everyone loves. How did he manage this? Was it through the association of his music with visual images, or was it simply that, by throwing out the rule book of the Paris Conservatoire where he studied, his music put beauty of sound above the spiritual ambitions of the German tradition from which those rules derived.Stephen Walsh's thought-pro..
Dmitry Shostakovich was one of the most successful composers of the twentieth century - a musician who adapted as no other to the unique pressures of his age. By turns vilified and feted by Stalin during the Great Purge, Shostakovich twice came close to the whirlwind of political repression and he remained under political surveillance all his life, despite the many privileges and awards heaped upon him in old age. Yet Shostakovich had a remarkable ability to work with, rather than against, preva..
An engrossing new biography of the musical revolutionary who was the world's first international megastar Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was an anomaly. A virtuoso pianist and electrifying showman, he toured extensively throughout the European continent, bringing sold-out audiences to states of ecstasy while courting scandal with his frequent womanizing. Drawing on new, highly revealing documentary sources, including a veritable treasure trove of previously unexamined material on Lis..
The figure of the gypsy is simultaneously vilified and romanticized. Gypsies have for centuries been associated with criminality and dirt, but also with colour, magic and music. Gypsy music is popular around the world, and is performed at occasions that include weddings in Bulgaria, jazz shows in Paris and festivals in the USA. Performers like Taraf de Haidouks and the Boban Markovic Orkestar remain popular for their more traditional sounds, while groups such as Gogol Bordello have gained new au..
'How refreshing, to read a book about music written for a music lover and not a musicologist. In clear, lucid, entertaining prose, Jane Glover makes those of us who lack musical literacy better understand and appreciate Handel’s divinity.' - Donna Leon, author of Handel's Bestiary and the Inspector Brunetti mysteries.Handel in London tells the story of a young German composer who in 1712, followed his princely master to London and would remain there for the rest of his life. That master would be..
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHORThe definitive biography of the late Leonard Cohen - singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist.The genius behind such classic songs as Suzanne, So Long, Marianne, Bird on the Wire and Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a man of spirituality, emotion, and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life - sex, religion, power, meaning, love.I'm Your Man explores the f..
A fresh appreciation of the great musical figure that gives him his due as composer as well as conductor Leonard Bernstein stood at the epicenter of twentieth-century American musical life. His creative gifts knew no boundaries as he moved easily from the podium, to the piano, to television with his nationally celebrated Young People's Concerts, which introduced an entire generation to the joy of classical music. In this fascinating new biography, the breadth of Bernstein's musical composition i..
'A glorious plum-pudding of a book, to be consulted, with pleasure and profit, over and over again' Sir Jeremy Isaacs Michael Steen's 'Great Composers' was originally published in 2003. A lifetime's work and almost 1000 pages long, it has since become 'the' reference point and key read on the biographical backgrounds to classical music's biggest names.Authoritative and hugely detailed - but nonetheless a joy to read - this new edition will expand its readership further and capitalise on a newfou..
Be guided and inspired by the gods of the music world with this creative set of oracle cards.Are you suffering from creative block? Struggling to make a difficult life decision? Find out what David Bowie, Grace Jones, Maria Callas and other great artists would have done.Simply select a card from the pack and channel the oracle’s advice on attitude, lifestyle or inspiration – any obstacle will become surmountable.Contains 50 oracle cards plus a booklet featuring the artists’ biographies and detai..
A thoughtfully curated and gloriously illustrated retrospective of the band’s studio releases, Queen, comes just in time for the 45th anniversary of their debut LP and biopic.Formed in 1970, Queen went on to become one of the most popular—and most successful—rock bands of all time. Even following the untimely death of beloved and magnetic frontman Freddie Mercury, and nearly 50 years after their formation, interest in the band has continued, evidenced by scores of reissues, arena tours with surv..
A conductor is one of classical music's most recognisable but misunderstood figures, attracting so many questions:'Surely orchestras can play perfectly well without you? ''Do you really make any difference to the performance?''Are the musicians even watching you?'The Silent Musician is not a manual for conductors, nor a history of conducting. It is for all who wonder what conductors actually do, and why they matter.An illuminating account of what it means to be [a conductor], how it feels, what'..
Bob Dylan has always regarded himself as a songwriter: 'I am my words,' he wrote in 1964.
Distilling a lifetime's passion and study, leading Dylan author, Clinton Heylin charts the development and first moments of genius of this unique artist whose songs changed the world.
From his first attempts at writing, Song to Bridget, in 1957, (apparently for Brigitte Bardot) Bob Dylan always aspired to poetry, yet his role as a writer rather than a performer of his own songs is often overlooked. In..
This is the second volume in Clinton Heylins magisterial survey of the songs of Bob Dylan. The first volume - Revolution in the Air which is now available in paperback - charted the rise of Bob Dylan from his first jottings to the full expression of genius in songs such as Hard Rain Gonna Fall and The Times They Are a Changin. Still on the Road begins in 1974 with Blood on the Tracks, the album filled with masterworks such as Tangled Up in Blue and Simple Twist of Fate that heralded ..
Dividing the sum total of human musical achievement, from Beethoven to The Beatles, Busta Rhymes to Bach, into just six fundamental forms, Levitin illuminates, through songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love, how music has been instrumental in the evolution of language, thought and culture. And how, far from being a bit of a song and dance, music is at the core of what it means to be human.A one-time record producer, now a leading neuroscientist, Levitin has composed a ca..
Abbate and Parker's A History of Opera is the first full new history of opera in sixty years - now in paperback in an updated second edition
'The best single volume ever written on the subject' The Times Literary Supplement
Why has opera transfixed and fascinated audiences for centuries? Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker answer this question in their scrupulous and provocative retelling of the history of opera, examining its development, the means by which it communicates, and its societal r..
A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In Absolutely on Music, internationally Haruki Murakami sits down with his friend Seiji Ozawa, the revered former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for a series of conversations on their shared passion: music. Over the course of two years, Murakami and Ozawa discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, ..
The dramatic story of five key turning points in a thousand years of Western music - discoveries that changed the course of history. Who first invented 'Doh Re Mi...'? What do we mean by "in tune"? Looking back down the corridor of a thousand years, Howard Goodall guides us through the stories of five seismic developments in the history of Western music. His "big bangs" may not be the ones we expect - some are surprising and some are so obvious we overlook them - but all have had an extraordinar..
The complete collection of Nick Cave lyrics spanning his entire career, from 1978 until 2013, revised and updated by the cult rock star. ' He is an Australian artist like Sidney Nolan is an Australian artist - beyond comparison, beyond genre, beyond dispute' - from Nick Cave's induction into the Australian Hall of Fame.
This complete collection of Nick Cave's lyrics spans his entire career, from his writing for The Birthday Party through the highly acclaimed Murder Ballads and The Boatman's C..
In 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’. This collection of essays by leading poets and critics – with a new foreword by Will Self – examines Dylan’s poetic genius, as well as his astounding cultural influence over the decades.
‘From Orpheus to Faiz, song and poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition’ Salman Rushdie
‘The most significant Wes..
This major gift reference book celebrates Country music's enduring world-wide appeal, taking the reader on a journey from its roots to the present day. Exploring every style from Hillbilly and Bluegrass to Nashville and Country Rock, it features all the key artists from Jimmie Rodgers to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, with illuminating cross-referencing along the way...
All my life my Stradivarius had been waiting for me, as I had been waiting for her ...'
At 7 years old Min Kym was a prodigy, the youngest ever pupil at the Purcell School of Music. At 11 she won her first international prize. She worked with many violins, waiting for the day she would play 'the one'. At 21 she found it: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. Her career soared. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a train st..
What does it mean for classical music to be canonical now? Who gets to say? And do we have enough perspective on the 20th century to even begin assessing it?When he began to listen to the great works of classical music as a child, Anthony Tommasini had many questions. Why did a particular piece move him? How did the music work? Over time, he realised that his passion for this music was not enough. He needed to understand it. Take Bach, for starters. Who was he? How does one account for his music..
Once-in-a-generation memoir of a rock legend - the No. 1 SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.
With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll life: taking the chances he wanted, speaking his mind, and making it all work in a way that no one before him had ever done.
Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane. And what a life. Listening obsessivel..
In this classic work on music biography, Sacheverell Sitwell narrates Franz Liszt's rapid ascent to European fame - and the effect that this incredible early success as a wonderfully gifted pianist had on his later life - with insight, sympathy and humanity,
One of the very first studies of Liszt to be published in English, this remarkable biography uses the full force of Sitwell's poetic talent to bring this brilliant and difficult man's world vividly to life, and captures the artistic mood ..
No artist offered a more incisive and accurate portrait of the troubled landscape of the 1970s than David Bowie. Cultural historian Peter Doggett explores the rich heritage of Bowie's most productive and inspired decade, and traces the way in which his music reflected and influenced the world around him. From 'Space Oddity', his dark vision of mankind's voyage into the unknown terrain of space, to the Scary Monsters album, Doggett examines in detail Bowie's audacious creation of an 'alien' rock ..
How does music reflect the key moments in our lives? How do we choose the works that inspire, delight, comfort or console? Fiona Maddocks selects 100 classical works from across nine centuries, arguing passionately, persuasively and at times obstinately for their inclusion, putting each work in its cultural and musical context, discussing omissions, suggesting alternatives and always putting the music first...
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque - and occasionally so intemperate?
In this remarkable book, John Eliot Gardiner distils the fruits of a lifetime's immersion as one of Bach's greatest living interpreters. Explaining in wonderful detail how Bach worked and how his music achieves its effects, he also takes us as deeply into Bach's works and mind as perha..
Why have all human cultures - today and throughout history - made music? Why does music excite such rich emotion? And how do we make sense of musical sound? These are questions that have, until recently, remained mysterious. Now "The Music Instinct" explores how the latest research in music psychology and brain science is piecing together the puzzle of how our minds understand and respond to music. Ranging from Bach fugues to nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, math..
Prehistoric drummers used natural acoustics to recreate natural sound. In classical Europe, orators turned the human voice into a lyrical instrument. In Buddhist temples, the icons' ears were exaggerated to represent their spiritual power. And in modern metropolises we are battered by the roar of sound that surrounds us.
In the first narrative history of the subject which puts humans at its centre, and following the author's major BBC Radio 4 series Noise, acclaimed historian David Hendy desc..
For a lot of years, I've answered a lot of questions, but have never told my story before.'
Across six decades, Sir Tom Jones has maintained a vital career in a risky, unstable business notorious for the short lives of its artists. With a drive that comes from nothing but the love for what he does, he breaks through and then wrestles with the vagaries of the music industry, the nature of success and its inevitable consequences. Having recorded an expansive body of work and performed with fell..
Clashing together outrageous musical influences, and extravagant visual imagery, Queen's place in history as the greatest glam band of them all is rock solid.
Their fan base continues to grow, over 25 years on from the death of Freddie Mercury, Queen's flamboyant, unforgettable front man. Georg Purvis's meticulous, session-by-session, song-by-song, album-by-album, tour-by-tour record of the band's progress is the complete reference source that Queen fans have been waiting for. If you love the..
This accompanies BBC2's major new TV series and The Story of Music in 50 Pieces on Radio 3. In his dynamic tour through 40,000 years of music, from prehistoric instruments to modern-day pop, Howard Goodall leads us through the story of music as it happened, idea by idea, so that each musical innovation - harmony, notation, sung theatre, the orchestra, dance music, recording, broadcasting - strikes us with its original force. He focuses on what changed when and why, picking out the discoveries th..
In this original and highly accessible book, Peter Jones takes the reader on a fascinating journey along the highways and byways of Roman life and culture, telling the amazing stories behind the original Latin meanings and uses of hundreds of our everyday words.
Taking in every aspect of the ancient world, including science, religion, military matters, politics and literature, Jones shows just how much the English language owes to the ancient Romans and the role Latin has played in the creati..
Top Ten Lists: Music showcases the cream of the crop, mixing little-known talents and the big players throughout the years with wonderful colour photographs and interesting insider tips. With over 100 top ten lists paying homage to music's greatest achievements, this book is an essential comparison for music-lovers everywhere. The top ten lists cover a full spectrum of subjects, including underrated superstars, musical siblings, outrageous concerts and much much more. With the likes of Beyonce a..
Whether they enjoy listening to Mozart or Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland invites readers to ask two basic questions: are they hearing everything that's going on? Are they really being sensitive to it? With his provocative suggestions, American composer Aaron Copland guides readers through the intricacies of music, providing them with the tools they need to gain a deeper appreciation of this beautiful and rewarding art form...
Did you know that ...carrying a musical instrument makes you more attractive? music can cure insomnia? music can change the taste of wine? the Mozart effect has nothing to do with Mozart? Barry Manilow songs can be used for crowd control?
Why does music affect you so profoundly? It impacts the way you think, talk, feel, behave and even spend money. With his conversational style, humour, and endless knowledge, scientist and musician John Powell showcases fascinating studies - for example that ..
The long-awaited memoir by 'the most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers' (New York Times)
Rapturous in its ability to depict the creative process, Words Without Music allows readers to experience that sublime moment of creative fusion when life merges with art. Biography lovers will be inspired by the story of a precocious Baltimore boy, the son of a music-shop owner, who entered college at age fifteen, before traveling to Paris to study under the legendary Nadia Boulanger; Gl..
'A magnificent treasury . . . a fascinating tour de force.' Observer
'Year of Wonder is an absolute treat - the most enlightening way to be guided through the year.' Eddie Redmayne
Classical music for everyone - an inspirational piece of music for every day of the year, celebrating composers from the medieval era to the present day, written by award-winning violinist and BBC Radio 3 presenter Clemency Burton-Hill.
Have you ever heard a piece of music so beautiful it stops you in your tr..