Sweepingly ambitious, The Oxford History of Western Music will illuminate, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective that challenges the received wisdom of the field, Richard Taruskin sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices. Unlike earlier surveys, Taruskin provides greater attention to the full range of 20th century music, including American music as part of the mainstream tradition of western music, women in music, and popular musics. The main five volumes are filled with helpful illustrations that enhance the historical context of musical composition, as well as musical examples and black-and-white pictures throughout. The sixth volume provides a comprehensive chronology, further reading and other source material, and an index to the entire set. Laced with brilliant observations, memorable musical analysis, and a panoramic sense of the interactions between history, culture, politics, art, literature, religion, and music, The Oxford History of Western Music will be essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand this rich and diverse tradition. Pre-publication price until 12/31/04. $699.00 thereafter.
||: Richard Taruskin
||: Oxford University Press, USA
||: 4272 Pages