Some Books about Music in General

Alfred Brendel on Music

His Collected Essays

Alfred Brendel

Get 'Alfred Brendel on Music' on AmazonUKAlfred Brendel . . . has the effect almost of transposing into language the greatness of the Beethoven, Schubert, Busoni, Liszt, etc. he plays.   Stephen Spender

Alfred Brendel is not only one of the world’s greatest pianists; he is a defining presence, who has changed the way we want to hear the major works of the piano repertory.   Susan Sontag

Everything he writes demonstrates the acuteness of his intelligence as well as the depth of his sensibility   Anthony Storr, Independent on Sunday

. . . a blending of the musical and human, historical and personal. It is what gives his writing,
like his playing, its sense of excitement and commitment.  
The Economist

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Everything is Connected – The Power of Music

Daniel Barenboim

Get 'Everything is Connected' on AmazonUKBarenboim’s book is at its best when he explains the unique status of music.
He describes brilliantly how it works and the way in which its intricacies and logic justify his faith that everything is connected . . . It establishes him as the most
pure-hearted and, therefore, anguished advocate of the lasting importance of art.   Sunday Times

Politically and emtionally charged, this is a forceful volume.
James Urquhart – Financial Times

He is as elegant at the word processor as he is on the podium.
Nicholas Bagnall – Sunday Telegraph

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Music Sounded Out

Alfred Brendel

Get 'Music Sounded Out' on AmazonUKIn this book Brendel examines subjects central to his repertoire.
Besides exploration of the music of Beethoven, Liszt and Busoni, there are chapters on Mozart, Schumann and Bach, along with a detailed study
of Schubert’s last three piano sonatas and an investigation of musical humour.

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Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts

Alfred Brendel

Get 'Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts' on AmazonUKIn addition to his activities in the concert hall and recording studio,
Alfred Brendel weds his love of music with an interest in literature
through musical essays which often appear in his concert programmes,
recording liner notes, and lectures. To date, two volumes of his collected writings, Musical Thoughts & Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out, have been published.
True to the original spirit of Montaigne’s Essays — from the French, essayer, or to try – Brendel regards his literary efforts in much the same light as his musical journeys:
as work-in-progress, constantly evolving and renewing themselves.
 

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The Art of Practicing

Madeline Bruser

Get 'The Art of Practising' on AmazonUK
This landmark book enlightens amateur and professional musicians about a way of practicing that transforms a sometimes frustrating, monotonous, and overly strenuous labor into an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Acclaimed pianist and teacher Madeline Bruser combines physiological and meditative principles to help musicians release physical and mental tension and unleash their innate musical talent.
She offers practical techniques for cultivating free and natural movement, a keen enjoyment of sounds and sensations, a clear and relaxed mind, and an open heart and she explains how to

Prepare the body and mind to practice with ease
Understand the effect of posture on flexibility and expressiveness
Make efficient use of the hands and arms
Employ listening techniques to improve coordination
Increase the range of color and dynamics by using less effort
Cultivate rhythmic vitality
Perform with confidence, warmth, and freedom

Photographs show essential points of posture and movement for a variety of instruments.

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The Music of Life

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Get 'The Music of Life' on AmazonUKThis is the definitive collection of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings on sound, presenting the Sufi Master’s vision of the harmony which underlies and infuses every aspect of our lives. With deep insight and wisdom, he explores the science of breath, the law of rhythm, the creative process, and both the healing power and psychological influence of music and sound.

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The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Get 'The Mysticism of Sound and Music' on AmazonUKMusic, according to Sufi teaching, is really a small expression of the overwhelming
and perfect harmony of the whole universe—and that is the secret of its amazing power to move us.
The Indian Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), the first teacher to bring the Islamic mystical tradition to the West, was an accomplished musician himself.
His lucid exposition of music’s divine nature has become a modern classic,
beloved only by those interested in Sufism but by musicians of all kinds.

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The Source of Music – Music and Mantra for Self-Realisation

Sri Chinmoy

Get 'The Source of Music' on AmazonUKThe first part of this book explores the spiritual dimensions of music,
which is viewed as a vehicle to expand one’s consciousness.
Part two considers the use of mantra and japa for spiritual growth and fulfilment. Detailed instructions on their use include specific mantras for spiritual progress, health, wealth and more.

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The Veil of Order – Conversations with Martin Meyer

Alfred Brendel

Get 'The Veil of Order' on AmazonUKI was not a child prodigy; indeed, I had none of the requisite qualities for making a successful career. This shortcoming has not prevented Alfred Brendel from becoming one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. His solo recitals and appearances with the leading orchestras of the world make him a regular guest in London, Paris, New York, Vienna, Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam, and at the major European and American music festivals. In a series of dialogues with Martin Meyer, Brendel speaks about his life,
the development of his career, his music-making, his travels, his poems and essays; about his childhood in Zagreb, adolescence in Graz, and experiences as a young man in Vienna (I was in Vienna, but I was never a “genuine” Viennese); and about literature, painting, architecture and kitsch. Brendel talks about the freedoms and obligations of a performer and discusses the work of musicians who have fascinated him – Alfred Cortot, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Wilhelm Kempff and Bruno Walter – and those who have irritated him, as did Glenn Gould. The conversations between Brendel and Meyer are both serious and witty.

Me of All People abounds in amusing anecdotes and contains penetrating insights into the music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Busoni and Schoenberg. Alfred Brendel emerges as a deep thinker, a passionate sceptic and an emotional musician. He is a multitalented figure with an engaging sense of humour, a healthy dose of modesty and an enormous appetite for life.

The Veil of Order (in the US: Me of all people) was published in 2002.

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The Well-Tempered String Quartet

A Book of Counsel and Entertainment for all Lovers of Music in the Home

Bruno Aulich, Ernst Heimeran

Get 'The Well-Tempered String Quartet' on AmazonUKThe Well-Tempered String Quartet was published in Germany in 1936 and in the United States in 1938. The book’s title may remind the thoughtful reader of the title of Johann Sebastian Bach’s eighteenth-century collection of preludes and fugues, The Well-Tempered Clavier. The reader would be correct in drawing such comparisons, as stated in the Translator’s Note: The ‘Well-tempered’ of the English version was chosen after much deliberation, for its manifold appropriate implications, and with a thought of homage to the Father of Music and his ‘Forty-eight.’

The book begins with descriptions of the joys of playing music, and potential ways in which a string quartet might come into being. The authors playfully remark upon readers’ potential doubts regarding the formation of string quartets, before reminding readers that all members of string quartets must meet one another somehow. Next are various descriptions of the temperaments that could be expected in each of the members of the quartet
(a cellist, violist, and two violinists). Notably, each member of the quartet has somewhat of a secret ambition to be the star of the group. The authors have a great deal of fun elaborating on the likely personalities of string quartet members, before finally bringing readers to the conclusion that while each player may have a pet ambition, their strengths and weaknesses complement one another.

The authors go on to discuss at length practice techniques, performance tips, and ways to deal with various quartet-related problems that may arise (what to do if a member is absent, for example). This book is surprisingly cheerful and humorous, and provides quite a few interesting and/or useful suggestions for musicians who have any interest in quartet-playing.

Source: Archives and Special Collections Blog

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Why Beethoven Threw the Stew – And Lots More Stories
About the Lives of Great Composers

Steven Isserlis

Get 'Why Beethoven Threw the Stew' on AmazonUKAn introduction to six classical composers:
Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Stravinsky.

Written by this professional cellist, who wrote it for his 8 year-old son,
in the absence of anything else on the market.

 

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Why Handel Waggled His Wig

Steven Isserlis

Get 'Why Handel Waggled His Wig' on AmazonUKThe eagerly awaited follow-up to the best-selling Why Beethoven Threw the Stew.
What did Haydn’s wife use for curling-paper for her hair? What did Schubert do with his old spectacles case? Why was Dvorák given a butcher’s apron when he was a little boy? Why did Tchaikovsky spit on a map of Europe? Why did Fauré find a plate of spinach on his face? And why did Handel waggle his wig? In Why Beethoven Threw the Stew, renowned cellist Steven Isserlis set out to pass on to children a wonderful gift given to him by his own cello teacher – the chance to people his own world with the great composers by getting to know them as friends. In his new book he draws us irresistibly into the world of six more favourite composers, bringing them alive in a manner that cannot fail to catch the imagination of children encountering classical music for the first time. Once again the text is packed with facts, dates and anecdotes, interspersed with lively black-and-white line illustrations, making this an attractive and accessible read for children to enjoy on their own or share with an adult.

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