Classical Music Insights:
Understanding and Enjoying Great Music
by Betsy Schwarm Trafford Publishing

"For whom is this book intended? Quite likely for you, but more generally speaking, anyone who is curious about classical music, where it comes from, and what it's trying to achieve."

Music historian Betsy Schwarm has created a commendable achievement with this book. Whether you think you know everything about classical music, or you've just heard your first piece, this book is the perfect partner for whatever style you prefer. From symphonies to chamber music, opera to choral, each chapter takes on a range of renowned compositions within that style and intermingling each with anecdotes about its composer and most memorable performances, to show real stories behind the scenes. One of the most exciting things about this book is that it brings classical music down to earth.

This is not a scholarly text aimed at connoisseurs of music. It's for the everyday listener, which makes it a refreshing change. Readers will learn how the ladies in Liszt's audience reacted to his masterful piano playing, how Strauss came to compose his first operetta, why Duke Ellington ended up with a career in music and not baseball, and how Holst inadvertently found popularity. Each musical gem is wrapped in an interesting and informative tale relating to its composer. This delightful accompaniment to classical music is more than a guide; it is an adventure into the history of music. Both educational and humorous, Schwarm has drawn together the crème of composers from the past three hundred years in a lively blend of biography and creative exploration. This book is bound to broaden anyone’s musical appreciation because reading it makes you want to listen harder and classical music will never sound the same again.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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