- Taschenbuch: 3856 Seiten
- Verlag: Oxford University Press (27. August 2009)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0195386302
- ISBN-13: 978-0195386301
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 38,1 x 21 x 26 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 227.728 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Oxford History of Western Music, 5 Vols. (Oxford History of Western Musc) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. August 2009
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Marvellously awash with judicious reflection on the latest scholarship...a compelling easy-to-read narrative. * The Economist * This monumental 4,000 page history from one of today's outstanding musicologists deserves a place on everybody's shelf. * Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music * Book of the decade. * Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music. * The discounted price represents extraordinarily good value for what I would happily recommend as book of the decade. * Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music * This monumental, nearly 4,000-page history from one of today's outstanding musicologists deserves a place on everybody's shelf. * Philip Borg-Wheeler, Classical Music *
The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
Yet I am not convinced, and give the set three stars. These stars are for Taruskins great knowledge of his subject, and his mostly lively writing style. I cannot give him more, because I have some serious reservations about these books.
First, Taruskin starts off his book with an essay on what a History of Music should contain. He rather stridently positions himself as a historian who will show the 'why' instead of the mere 'what'. Having read through all this text, I don't think Taruskin delivers on his promise. The actual 'why' content of the books is surprisingly meagre, much too shallow for such an whale of a book.
Second, throughout the books it appears that the main 'subtext' is to be read as: the reaching of tonality, its development and extension as the main musical meaning provider, and its temporal destruction by 12-tone music composers. Again, a very shallow theme which by and large does away with things as melody, timbre, ensemble and orchestral sound architecture; even reception history gets very short shrift.
Third, the technical level of the expositions of tonality in a number of chosen works is much too high for the occasional reader, even when he is somewhat familiar with music history. I cannot believe the citations in the book that laud the lucid writing about technical detail; it is really much too difficult. And there is far too much of it too, pages upon pages of music text which should have been given to, well, history.
Fourth, only a very limited number of composers are discussed, the very highlights, and sometimes much text is given to unimportant lightweights like Rossini. The juxtaposition of composers of opera (good) and symphony (bad), and of composers Italian etc (good) and German (bad) is childish and, frankly, rather ridiculous.
So, in short. I am not even sure that I should have spent so much of my time to read this ultimately unsatisfactory book. The generally interested reader is better advised to find works on music history that cover a specific period, that are written in a more balanced way, and that also provide some on all those other qualities of music besides just tonality.
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But inaccuracies, especially at the core of so damning a response to a new book, must not remain unchallenged.
Let's start with Anonymous IV's insinuation that Taruskin lacks expertise in music before 1800. (According to Anonymous IV, Taruskin's "superficial" and "sketchy" first two volumes summarize "the extent of what the author knows about music before 1800"; he is "obviously... on home turf" only in the 19th and 20th centuries.)
Perhaps Anonymous IV cannot imagine a musicologist being on home turf in more than one period. But Taruskin is just such a rare being: a formidable scholar of 19th- and 20th-century Russian music, he is equally celebrated in the realm of early music. His influential book, Text and Act (1995), contains numerous essays on pre-19th-century music. And even the brief author's biography on the back cover of that book informs us that Taruskin has published "numerous editions of Renaissance music, including a complete edition with commentary of the sacred music of [the 15th-century composer] Antoine Busnoys," and that while teaching at Columbia University, Taruskin had a distinguished performing career in early music. (Among other activities, he conducted the Cappella Nova, a New York-based choir specializing in medieval and Renaissance music; as a viola da gambist he recorded and toured with the Aulos ensemble.)
Anonymous IV's whining that Taruskin "rushes through more than 1000 years of music history" is no less mystifying. Hello! Taruskin devotes 1,612 pages to the first 1000 years of notated music in the Western world - rather more than the 843 pages in which Grout/Palisca, to which Anonymous IV repeatedly compares Taruskin, covers the entire history of Western music.
But most importantly: if Anonymous IV has indeed read Taruskin's History of Western Music, he/she will have found, in its opening paragraphs, (pp. xxi and xxii), a clear statement of the book's aim. It is not, Taruskin explains, a survey à la Grout. Rather, it is "an attempt at a true history" - that is, an attempt "to explain why and how things happened as they did" - in short, not the usual laundry list that has too often passed for music history. To compare Taruskin to Grout on this count is rather like faulting a cognac for not being a beer.
Taruskin fulfills his stated aim exhilaratingly. His book is a towering achievement of scholarship and intellect; a challenge to complacency; a joy to read.
As to the accusation that Oxford's production of Taruskin's book is shoddy: well, I do not know what Anonymous IV has been doing with his/her copy. I have been reading mine, for some weeks now, and have had no problem whatsoever with its binding.
It's also a delight to read; charmingly written and clearly argued. If you love music and love thinking about music, you should have this on your shelf.
I always find bad reviews more helpful than good ones, so instead of gushing over how good these books are, let me give you some other points that might help you decide if you want to fork over the cash.
- These are not traditional textbooks in the way of Grout or Stolba. There are no diagrams, pictures, timelines, margin notes, et al. What the book does have is text, and lots of it, and many, many musical examples.
- The books seem to be written in the manner of a lecture: there is lots of talking and musical examples, just as you would get if you sat down in one of Taruskin's classes. Also, the chapters are all nearly the same length regardless of subject matter, which is another reason why I think they are similar to the experience of sitting in one of Taruskin's lectures.
- Taruskin's style can be kind of like this: "Sit down and I'll tell you a story." As a result, you won't find a chapter called "Mendelssohn" and another called "Webern". He weaves in and out of these composers as he likes, so besides the general index, you may find it time-consuming to find a specific topic in the set if you are doing research.
- There are no indices in the individual volumes; only the last book has the indices.
On the whole though, an awesome set of books, and the price is definitely worth it.