Synopses & Reviews
The power of music, the way it works on the mind and heart, remains an enticing mystery. Now two noted writers on classical music, Michael Steinberg and Larry Rothe, explore the allure of this melodious art--not in the clinical terms of social scientists--but through stories drawn from their own experience.
In For the Love of Music, Steinberg and Rothe draw on a lifetime of listening to, living with, and writing about music, sharing the delights and revelatory encounters they have had with Mozart, Brahms, Stravinsky, and a host of other great (and almost-great) composers. At once highly personal and immediately accessible, their writings shed light on those who make music and those who listen to it--drawing readers into the beautiful and dangerous terrain that has meant so much to the authors. In recounting how they themselves came to love music, Steinberg and Rothe offer keys for listening. Here you will find the story of a boy discovering a lifelong passion as he huddled in an alley behind a movie theater in World War II England, listening to the Fantasia soundtrack. You will meet the man who created the sound of Hollywood's Golden Age. You will learn how composers have addressed issues as contemporary as AIDS and the terrorist attacks of September 11. You will sit in on strange and enlightening listening sessions with one of America's quirkiest music critics. And you will enter a world of mind- and soul-nourishing pleasures.
Articulate and impassioned, sophisticated but never esoteric, Steinberg and Rothe offer invigorating reflections on music that will delight both the beginning and the seasoned listener.
"Excellent.... Steinberg and Rothe...write persuasively and elegantly about Western classical music in accessible, welcoming language intended for an educated general audience.... All music lovers will find this a stimulating, enriching read. Engagingly personal, witty, and jargon-free."--Library Journal (starred review)
"This is a graceful book by two music critics and fanatics that addresses the great question, Why do we love what we love? and leads us back to first causes, Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, the music that enthralled us sitting in the mystical fellowship of the concert hall. Their reminiscence of American composers of the 20th Century is not to be missed."--Garrison Keillor
"This kaleidoscopic book by Michael Steinberg and Larry Rothe is rich with autobiographical scenes, provocative viewpoints, and heartfelt appreciations--all centering around music and the artistic passion these authors share with and convey to the reader. It will long be treasured by professionals, novices, and all lovers of classical music."--André Watts
"The miracle of Michael Steinberg and Larry Rothe's new book is that music--perhaps the most difficult of the arts to describe and to write about well--is evoked with such eloquence and wit. This collection of essays presents its body of knowledge without pedantry, and as its authors take us on a tour of both major and minor works, using enlightening anecdotes and analyses, we are charmed and instructed, as the authors' love of their subject--announced in the title--makes itself clear."--Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
"This is a delightful book--witty, fervent, and wide-ranging. The authors wear their erudition lightly, are unabashedly personal and celebratory, and manage the difficult feat of being both serious and entertaining. I enjoyed it immensely."--Richard Goode, Pianist
A deeply personal celebration of the power and appeal of classical music, based on a lifetime of listening to and writing about music, reveals their experience of the delights of works by Mozart, Brahms, Stravinsky, and many other classical musicians and reflects on the meaning of music for both those who make it and those who enjoy it.
Two noted writers on classical music explore the allure of this melodious art--not in the clinical terms of social scientists--but through stories drawn from their own experience.
About the Author
has taught at several universities and conservatories, was music critic of The Boston Globe
, has contributed to numerous periodicals, and served as program annotator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. His program notes have been collected in three Listener's Guides
on The Symphony, The Concerto
, and Choral Masterworks
. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Larry Rothe
has been publications editor of the San Francisco Symphony since 1984. His articles have appeared in Symphony
, and Stagebill
, and he is co-editor of American Mavericks: Visionaries, Pioneers, Iconoclasts
. He lives in Berkeley, California.