1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die

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1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die Cover Image
By Matthew Rye (Editor), Steven Isserlis (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9780789315830
Availability: Special Order
Published: Universe - February 12th, 2008

Faced with a great welter of classical music on CD, what's the aspiring collector to do? Here's a thoughtful chronological compendium of works from the twelfth thru twenty-first centuries, with a recommended recording for each. Although in certain instances one might quarrel (as this reviewer does) with the chosen recording, the list of compositions itself is impeccably selected, and as a whole the 1001 is highly informative on all eras, composers, and works cited. Contemporary classical music is by no means everyone's cup of tea (many unfamiliar with the idiom find it as palatable as the sound of a china cabinet and contents toppling down a staircase), but those with inquisitive ears will find here a generous assortment of works written since 1951, each opus persuasively discussed and placed in the ongoing context of Western music. Scelsi, Birtwistle, Gubaidulina, Henze and Rihm may never be household names, but each has composed challenging and memorable music-- they're here along with Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and many other a familiar name. This 1001 will be a great help to anyone starting or expanding a classical collection.

Hammer of the Gods

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Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061473081
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: It Books - April 8th, 2008

Whether you're a fan of the mighty Zeppelin or not (but, if not, WHY NOT??), this is the definitive rock 'n' roll biography. The juicy inside story of a band that defined the excesses of a decade, this revised version details their infamous exploits (including the "shark incident") and contains an update on recent collaborations and solo work from Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones.

Clapton's Guitar

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Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743266369
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: Free Press - June 6th, 2006

This book might more appropriately be entitled, "Wayne Henderson and His Guitars: Old Martin Masterpieces, New Henderson Heirlooms", but who could blame author Allen St. John for wanting to grab more readership by evoking the Clapton name. St. John's primary mission at book's beginning, after all, is to follow what happens when Eric Clapton falls in love with a sound engineer's Henderson guitar and requests that the semi-eccentric guitar builder craft him one of his own. What just might keep Clapton from getting his guitar, however, is that everyone who has ever seen, heard or touched a Henderson guitar wants one for themself and as gifted as both Wayne Henderson the luthier and Wayne Henderson the musician are, mass-productions is definitely not his thing. Most frequently, furthermore, neither is finishing one project before starting another (hence the wild and wooly state of his workshop) and we're never quite sure how much or how little weight, in the world apart that Henderson occupies, Clapton's name carries with this master guitar builder.

As we get to know Wayne Henderson the luthier, Wayne Henderson the musician and Wayne Henderson the character we cannot help but be enlightened by his devotion to craft and his life approach. Along the way we may even learn a bit about regional musical history (Henderson lives in the remote hills of Virginia- the Carter family and Doc Watson occasionally figure in) as well as become experts ourselves on the holy grail of acoustic luthiery: pre-1950s C.F. Martin guitars. For this we are in debt not only to Henderson and his amazing classic guitar collection- which we are exposed to from time to time- but also, of course, author St. John who is quite the knowledgeable collector himself. More so, however, we find ourselves in debt to St. John not merely for bringing this warm and intriguing story and its heartwarming cast of characters to us in the first place, but for doing it in the way of all the classic narrators; he is there constantly, thinking, observing and feeling for us yet, in the end, offering himself merely as a window through which we can more clearly observe the story that he has carefully yet generously laid out before us.

A confession- I have not even completely finished reading this book. But, in my defense, this is not due to negligence on my part but rather the dread that at some time soon I will have to close this book once and for all and walk away from this very special work and the characters contained within. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400033539
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Vintage - September 23rd, 2008

In his unique fashion, Oliver Sacks once again allows us insight into the workings of the human brain. Musicophilia describes and analyzes the effects of music using anecdotes about patients, family, friends and himself. The various powers of music are described and detailed from therapeutic uses of music for various brain malfunctions, to the reason we often run annoying tape loops of music in our minds. I learned amazing concepts and was completely fascinated. ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank

Violin Dreams

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Violin Dreams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547086002
Availability: Special Order
Published: Mariner Books - October 1st, 2008

Finally a readable memoir about becoming and being a professional musician! I learned so much about the passion, determination, talent and hard work of these remarkable people. This book clearly "paints" rather than describes, music theory and interpretation and makes astonishing points about the fluidity of music, music teachers, composers and instruments. Impressive, enjoyable and very enlightening. ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank


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Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius - Anniversary Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780879308599
Availability: Backordered
Published: Backbeat Books - October 1st, 2005

Anyone who admires the beauty and virtuosity of Jaco's playing will appreciate this glimpse into his life and career. The bonus CD includes interviews and very early recordings. This is a good biography of a revolutionary jazz musician whose life ended tragically. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds


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