by Scott D. Strawn
“Music is food for the soul,” or so the saying goes. Music lovers would definitely agree with the sentiment. Lovers of classic music would tell you that music can be a wondrous feast. However, sometimes what’s being served can come with a bit of “unique” background. Sometimes the stories behind the making of musical masterpieces can be a little bit strange.
Who Knew? Answers to Questions About Classical Music You Never Thought to Ask, by Roberta A. Cutietta.
To truly understand something is to know how it works and what better way to learn than to ask questions? Mr. Cutietta has taken questions that listeners of his radio show have asked, consulted professional musicians, and come forth with a plethora of facts concerning classical music. From the unusual, trivial and well-known to the obsure and overlooked, the questions you never thought to ask about classical music are answered here.
Beethoven’s Skull, by Tim Rayborn
Rayborn cuts to the quick. If it’s fit for the tabloids, scandal sheets or Twitter and it concerns classical music, it’s here. Think that the world of classical music is staid and repressed? Think again. Put on a CD of classical music (or download it) and sit down with this title to enjoy the scandals, sensationalism, and scary stories behind the music.
The History of Music in Fifty Instruments, by Philip Wilkinson
Okay, you probably know what a violin is; how about a theremin? Know where the harp came from? Know the types of drums? Wilkinson goes through the orchestra, instrument by instrument, explaining their origins, how they work and what part they play in performances. The beginning enthusiast will be overwhelmed by all the musical knowledge here. Life-long enthusiast will be surprised by the little facts and details that they may not have known.
The Greatest Music Stories Never Told, by Rick Beyer
The scandalous, the trivial, the strange, the obscure...they’re all here. Beyer, author of the History Channel’s “Greatest Stories Never Told,” concentrates on those stories that took the music world and turned it on its head. Regardless of what your taste in music is, here is the book to please your taste for the musically strange.
Toscanini: Musician of Conscience, by Harvey Sachs
This book is included on this, not because it is strange or sensational, but because of the fact that is tells the story of a man of unusual conscience and bravery. Toscanini was renown in the early 20th century. He worked with the greatest performers and debuted many operas and other works that are now considered classic “standards.” The interesting part of Sachs’ book though is how he delves into the conscience of Toscanini. Here was a man who not only brought great music to the world but stood up to the cruelties and tyrants of his time.
All books listed can be obtained through your local library. For more information about classical music, or to find out about library services and programs, please visit your local library, or go to ahjlibrary.org. Mr. Strawn is Director of the Allendale-Hampton-Jasper Regional Library.