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The Story of Classical Music | [Darren Henley]

The Story of Classical Music

The lives and music of the great composers of classical music unfold in this entertaining account, introduced by the conductor and musical personality Marin Alsop. In 1200 years, classical music grew from the chanting of medieval monks through the symphonies of Beethoven and the grand operas of Wagner to the huge orchestral sound-world of the 21st century, with its electronics and its film music.
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Publisher's Summary

The lives and music of the great composers of classical music unfold in this entertaining account, introduced by the conductor and musical personality Marin Alsop. In 1200 years, classical music grew from the chanting of medieval monks through the symphonies of Beethoven and the grand operas of Wagner to the huge orchestral sound-world of the 21st century, with its electronics and its film music. In her easy-going style, Marin Alsop paints vivid portraits of over 90 composers, each one illustrated with some of his, or her, most famous music.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2004 Darren Henley; (P)2004 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Original Work and Achievement in Production, 2005

"Alsop's easygoing approach works well as she serves as a welcoming tour guide offering fun facts and interesting biographical sketches for listeners." (Publishers Weekly)
"This charming compilation is cheerfully hosted by the clear and friendly voice of Marin Alsop, who walks young (and curious adult) listeners through an engaging history of classical music." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (112 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
4.1 (27 )
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3 star
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Story
4.2 (28 )
5 star
 (11)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Boulderite 12-31-05
    Boulderite 12-31-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
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    95
    16
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    Overall
    "Interesting, informative, easy"

    This is a perfect application for audiobooks -- a history of classical music along with samples from the works of the composers discussed. I was afraid I would be bored, but was informed and entertained start to finish. This is a very basic overview -- appropriate for children or adults with minimal background in classical music. It gave me a very good context for the music, both in time, geographically, and stylistically. One criticism: the sound quality of the music was not great.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Allegan, MI, USA 01-21-06
    Catherine Allegan, MI, USA 01-21-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    335
    ratings
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    3
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    Overall
    "A Good Basic Introduction"

    I did enjoy this book. I've listended to classical music and wished I knew more about the history - and I've read about classical music and wished I could hear the music they were talking about. This program gives you a quick tour with the brief highlights of both.

    This program concentrates more on the historical settings of the composers, not the musical composition or theory. It is also easy to tell that this program was designed as an introduction for students (probably middle to high school age). I didn't mind that, some people may. Listen to the audio sample and you'll quickly see if this is the type of book you're looking for.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cristina Hesperia, CA, USA 07-06-09
    Cristina Hesperia, CA, USA 07-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    1
    1
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    Overall
    "Short and sweet"

    I myself am a music student at university, and I found this to be a wonderfully short and sweet overview of classical music. It was written in an enjoyable way, and I loved that they put the musical excerpts in there as well. I felt he spent a little too much time on a few composers and really glossed over others. Overall, though, I'd recommend it to anyone.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bronx, NY, USA 06-16-07
    Elizabeth Bronx, NY, USA 06-16-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    1
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    Overall
    "Pretty Enjoyable"

    Between this title and 'Classical Music 101', this one was a joy to listen to as the latter one was drudgery. The narration was pleasant and the musical snippets were a nice additional bonus to help move the story along, although some of the snippets were too long. However, I enjoyed it and I believe that children 8 and over would also enjoy it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Fodor 10-14-06 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Appeals to wide age range"

    While the quality of the music clips is disappointing, the narration is quite good. My children (ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade) and I all really enjoyed this audiobook. This book is a good choice for long car trips with a wide age range.

    The only other criticism we have is that one point, the narrator mentions Rimsky-Korsakov as the composer of "Pictures at an Exhibition," which is incorrect. Even so, the book is highly recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura washington dc, DC, USA 04-18-10
    Laura washington dc, DC, USA 04-18-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Overall
    "The child's ear"

    I'm an adult and I love music, though I can't say I have an "educated ear". Thus my desire to do some music history! As I was looking through the more sophisticated books on the topic, I read a review of someone saying she had preferred this one because the music samples were longer. I'm glad I took her advice. I learned a lot, had fun and listened to some beautiful music and I'm not embarrassed to say that the "child" approach was perfect for me!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Morisset ParkAustralia 10-25-09
    Ken Morisset ParkAustralia 10-25-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    3
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    Overall
    "A great listen"

    A delight to listen to and lightly informative. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Seattle, WA, USA 09-04-08
    Linda Seattle, WA, USA 09-04-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
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    Overall
    "Made for kids but we liked it also."

    My husband and I quite enjoyed listening to this while commuting. He is quite familiar with the music and composers but found it enjoyable and informative anyway.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chiang ShanghaiChina 12-26-09
    Chiang ShanghaiChina 12-26-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    10
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    Overall
    "the story of classical music"

    A must listening book for both adults and children, especially for school children. It is easy to be followed with very enjoyable music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ninell Pretoria, South Africa 05-23-11
    Ninell Pretoria, South Africa 05-23-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    26
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Target audience: children"

    Xtra light on facts, lots of music snippets and a little gossip about composers - this is a book to play to your kids. My 16 year old son will already find the slighly patronising tone irritating, so younger kids only! Personally I also dislike the strong American accent. Wasted my credits on this one... :(

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Pen Name
    Søborg, Denmark
    4/6/13
    Overall
    "How an audiobook about music should be"

    I have nothing to say about the content, perhaps any printed book could do as much. But the presentation filled with a lively narration, recordings of the music she's talking about, sound effects, re-enactments and subtle humor overall makes a better learning experience. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't learn as much by reading a music history book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alexandra
    SliemaMalta
    11/1/07
    Overall
    "What better way to relax and learn?"

    If you, like me, like to relax (read) before going to sleep, but like classical music too, then this is for you. Although not particularly aimed at an adult audience (i.e. good for 12 year-olds who are interested in classical music), I still found this audiobook a good buy. Finally I can put a name to all those famous pieces of music I heard in my childhood home, and know to which genre they belong. Why four stars? I have nothing else to compare it to, this being the first 'history of classical music' audiobook I've ever listened to. A definite yes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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