Synopses & Reviews
Michael Steinberg's 1996 volume The Symphony: A Reader's Guide
received glowing reviews across America. It was hailed as "wonderfully clear...recommended warmly to music lovers on all levels" (Washington Post
), "informed and thoughtful" (Chicago Tribune
), and "composed by a master stylist" (San Francisco Chronicle
). Seiji Ozawa wrote that "his beautiful and effortless prose speaks from the heart." Michael Tilson Thomas called The Symphony
"an essential book for any concertgoer."
Now comes the companion volume--The Concerto: A Listener's Guide. In this marvelous book, Steinberg discusses over 120 works, ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1720s to John Adams in 1994. Readers will find here the heart of the standard repertory, among them Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, eighteen of Mozart's piano concertos, all the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, and major works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Bruch, Dvora'k, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Elgar, Sibelius, Strauss, and Rachmaninoff. The book also provides luminous introductions to the achievement of twentieth-century masters such as Arnold Schoenberg, Be'la Barto'k, Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron Copland, and Elliott Carter. Steinberg examines the work of these musical giants with unflagging enthusiasm and bright style. He is a master of capturing the expressive, dramatic, and emotional values of the music and of conveying the historical and personal context in which these wondrous works were composed. His writing blends impeccable scholarship, deeply felt love of music, and entertaining whimsy.
Here then is a superb journey through one of music's richest and most diverse forms, with Michael Steinberg along as host, guide, and the best of companions.
"A wide range of material--facts about the composers' lives, notable circumstances surrounding the first performances of the work--punctuate [Steinberg's] discussion of each work.... For the amateur with a musical background, this is a valuable and very interesting collection."--Library Journal
"Each concerto is discussed with impeccable scholarliness an detailed historical information, but above all, the style of the writing is unfailingly entertaining."--Maestro Andre Previn
"This collection of articles has a relaxed, easy charm that will most likely win over readers unfamiliar with the subject."--Publishers Weekly
"Nobody can draw a reader into appreciation of a piece of classical music quite like Michael Steinberg.... Steinberg combines magisterial authority of a musicologist with the deeply personal point of view of a novelist."--St. Petersburg Times
"The writing is often relaxed and virutuosic, and it always passes the acid test: after reading Steinberg's freshly considered thoughts on any piece, I immediately want to heari, or hear it again.... A few of the longer essays are almost short stories in themselves. Reading Michael Steinberg on music will definitley make you a better listener--it might even make some of us better, or at least humber, writers. More important, he'll remind you of what makes great music great."--City, Rochester
About the Author
, musicologist, critic, teacher, chamber music coach, and narrator, is the program annotator of the San Francisco Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. He was music critic of The Boston Globe
for twelve years. He lives in Edina, Minnesota.