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Publisher's Summary

For many of us, classical music is something serious - something we study in school, something played by cultivated musicians at fancy gatherings.

In Language of the Spirit, renowned music scholar Jan Swafford argues that we have it all wrong: classical music has something for everyone and is accessible to all. Ranging from Gregorian chant to Handel's Messiah, from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons to the postmodern work of Philip Glass, Swafford is an affable and expert guide to the genre. He traces the history of Western music, introduces listeners to the most important composers and compositions, and explains the underlying structure and logic of their music.

Language of the Spirit is essential listening for anyone who has ever wished to know more about this sublime art.

©2017 Jan Swafford (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" Language of the Spirit includes an array of unpretentious, charming anecdotes, stories once universally known but (Mr. Swafford suspects) now need retelling. His book is perfect for people who are curious about classical music but feel somewhat intimidated by it." ( Wall Street Journal)

What members say

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Great intro to various important composers & works

Listen to this audio book with pen and paper nearby to track suggested listening. insight into the lives of the composers is what I enjoyed most. The breakdown of individual works felt very dry if I wasn't familiar with them. Ideally I would love to listen to this book as I sit in front of a computer so I could access the music as its referenced. Overall very informative and enjoyable.