A brief history of western classical music which will appeal to all music lovers.
By "Western music," the title really refers to Western classical music (popular and folk are almost entirely absent) from prehistory to the end of the 20th century. Music critic Griffiths, formerly of The New Yorker and the New York Times, superimposes his own subdivisions on the standard historical periods as a way of concisely identifying trends or common ideas. "The Deaf Man and the Singer," for example, is centered on the late Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert; "Nightfall and Sunrise" is about Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss. Griffiths moves from lofty, hard-to-grasp ideas to fact-filled sentences that continue for half a paragraph. He is at his best when speaking in broad terms and summing up an entire era. Attempts to discuss particular compositions are often confusing and in some cases require an understanding of technical information far beyond that of beginners. The glossary is not helpful, and the bibliography cites highly advanced literature. Not recommended.-Timothy McGee, Hastings, Ont. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.