Describes nearly 200 of the best-loved examples of music one might hear in conventional programmes today. The selection is balanced and gives a good idea of listening habits in the United States particularly... The book is user-friendly, with a few jokes, written with some undisguised and understandable enthusiasms. ( Peter Williams, Times Literary Supplement)
A treasure trove of learning deployed with lightness of touch
companionable as well as wise ( BBC Music Magazine)
Chamber Music: A Listener's Guide is a collection of essays about the essential masterworks of the chamber music literature, written to be meaningful to non-professional but interested music-lovers while providing enrichment even for committed chamber music enthusiasts. The book covers a core repertoire of pieces for representative instrumental groupings for three or more players that a concertgoer is most likely to encounter in the course of concert-going, focusing on frequently performed works composed from the late Baroque to the present. Many of these essays have appeared as program notes in the printed programs of notable ensembles in the United States and Europe, but some are newly written specifically for this book.
Keller's approach is more historical than analytical. Although the essays draw attention to musical details that make each piece distinctive and admirable, the book steers clear of theoretical jargon that might be off-putting or confusing to the general music-lover. Chamber Music: A Listener's Guide explores the stories behind these compositions: the circumstances of their creation, how they fit into the composer's life and works, how performers have dealt with their specific challenges, how critics and audiences have received them.
From Arensky to Wolf, Chamber Music: A Listener's Guide provides inviting and up-to-date essays on 193 seminal works by 56 composers. Keller's generously scaled program notes offer considerable historical depth while revealing the author's enthusiastic delight in a repertoire that is obviously close to his heart. This book promises to be the essential single-volume concert guide for chamber music lovers in the 21st century.
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