- Book author
- Fred Plotkin
For anyone who is aching to discover classical music, this comprehensive and accessible book is the ideal teacher. Writing in the clear and highly entertaining prose that made Opera 101 the standard text in its field, Fred Plotkin--music expert, teacher, lecturer, and famous author--presents classical music in a way that respects both the reader and the art form. In Classical Music 101:
- The reader will discover how to become an expert listener, which is essential for learning to love classical music.
- A thousand years of music are explored, with emphasis on great works in all styles. Significant composers will be profiled in depth, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and many more.
- Important musicians, such as pianist Emanuel Ax, singer Marilyn Horne, and conductor James Levine, speak about their art in interviews.
The genesis of this book covered many years, and the assistance I received in writing it came from many sources. Above all, I am mindful that my musical education began very soon after I was born, and is due primarily to my mother, Bernice, and my father, Edward, who did every- thing but paint the walls of my nursery with musical notation. This early exposure was one of the greatest gifts I ever received, and one I encourage all parents to give to their infants.
I was lucky to grow up in New York City at a time when public schools offered musical education to all students, and arts organizations were accessible to any child who was eager to learn. The names of teachers who influenced me musically remain in my head decades after I studied with them: Miss Naifee, Mrs. George, Mr. Weber, Mrs. Tsaggos. Anyone you meet who loves music always remembers his or her teachers. I was also immensely fortunate in my youth and young adulthood to have regular exposure to Leonard Bernstein, not only as an audience member for his legendary Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, but also in more immediate settings. He was a splendid and natural teacher, and everyone in his orbit was enriched by him.
In bringing this book to fruition I have received help from many caring people. Mark Chait at Hyperion has been a patient and engaging editor, and I have enjoyed watching him develop his own interest in classical ii Acknowledgments music. David Cashion first acquired the book and helped me structure it, and he has my special thanks. So do Rick Kot and Samantha Miller, who helped make Opera 101 the book it is and thus blazed the path to this one. I would also like to thank tfre following persons at Hyperion for their important contributions: Adrian James, Katie Long, Mary Tucker, and Robin Moses. Erin Clermont and, especially, Patrick Dillon read the manuscript with care and provided valuable input.
At Black, Inc. Literary Agency I am lovingly cared for and repre- sented by David Black, Susan Raihofer, Joy Tutela, Gary Morris, Jason Sacher, Leigh Ann Eliseo, and Carmen Rey, all of whom have my deepest thanks.
I am very grateful to all of the musicians who gave me considerable time and reflection in discussing all matters musical. Their voices and opinions are important elements of Classical Music 101. Claudio Abbado, Marilyn Home, and James Levine have been important ongoing musical influences in my life, and they have my particular admiration.
Thanks to Jane Covner, Leah Morris, Carolyn Hellman, Kathleen Cuvelier, Nicole Fallat, Melissa Sanders, Maria Yatskova, and, especially, Ken Hunt and Alison Glaister, all of whom gave of their time and effort in key ways.
Peter and Kathy Henschel, devoted music lovers and dear friends, helped me evolve concepts for this book in its earliest stages.
Much gratitude to the entire staff in the classical music department of Tower Records near Lincoln Center. All of them were helpful and responsive to my numerous inquiries about recordings and repertory, and balanced their own taste and preferences with the particular needs of this book. My special thanks go to Paul Linkletter, who was as gener- ous with his vast knowledge as he was with his time.
Eric Foinquinos provided a wonderful sounding board for my ideas throughout the writing of this book, and brought his considerable tal- ents to bear in considering my questions.
Thanks to my friend Uwe Rau for vetting my German and discussing the fine points of text and translation. Thanks also to Joan Glatman, with whom I had valuable conversations about the piano and theory.