The History of Classical Music

Narrated by: Robert Powell
Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (313 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Gregorian Chant to Henryk Gorecki, the first living classical composer to get into the pop album charts, here is the fascinating story of over a thousand years of Western classical music and the composers who have sought to express in music the deepest of human feelings and emotions. Polyphony, sonata form, serial music - many musical expressions are also explained - with the text illustrated by performances from some of the most highly praised recordings of recent years.

©1997 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. (P)1997 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

What listeners say about The History of Classical Music

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

highly recommend

This excellent value is a great journey from the origins of classical music through the present day. There are tons of great musical illustrations, and each period and sub-genre of classical music is treated in a balanced, excellent manner. This work is great for those wanting to learn about great music, and for those whose rooms are filled with records and CD's (like mine!). I recommend this in opposition to 'The History of Opera' by the same author. 5 stars!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Among my top three Audiobooks, "History" is a concise-yet-complete overview of the development and evolution of classical music. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authority on classical music...and this book was a wonderful overview. There is enough music to gain an appreciation for the school while also illustrating the transition from one era to the next.

I have listened to this at least five times and can imagine listening another five. I highly recommend the book to anyone with even a passing interest in classical music.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

a fine intro to music history

This audio-book was perfect as a general review or an intro to further studies in Music History. Some strange selections of "important musicians" and some odd selections of music but overall fairly interesting. Reads a little like liner- notes, and is somewhat textbook-ish in tone.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

soothing

When I have trouble going to sleep, I turn on my computer and hook up my good speakers, and listen to this history. It is like a review of western civ. with music in the background. Instead of lying awake, I learn something, and I fall asleep. If you are feeling frustrated with the everyday grind, the beautiful music and the celebration of human achievement will give you a peace of mind.

30 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent, too short though, history of music.

What did you love best about The History of Classical Music?

The narrator has a wonderful british accent and is so smooth and easy to listen to. History of music makes you want to go into more detail. 5 hours is just not enough. Wish it were longer.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

beautiful music

This is probably best suited for musicians and those more familiar with musical terminology. Nonetheless I learned some things that I didn't know before, and the music was beautiful.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A good introduction

I listen to it for the fun, and ended with a greater desire to deepen my knowledge about the genius of classical music. The book is a good introduction, and traces a timeline in history with a brief sample of music when he talks about each musician.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative and enjoyable

Very enjoyable, and still informative without being superficial. Short enough to be entertaining, yet mentioning most, if not all the different streams of classical music worth knowing. Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Needs more music, less talk

I don't doubt that there is much good information here. But, for a non-musician, a person interested in better understanding the music, I found the music snippets way too short and the monologue way too long.
Before I listened to "The History of Classical Music", I listened to "The Story of Classical Music". The latter was much more interesting and attuned to my level of knowledge, though it was written for children. I was hoping "The History" would be the next step in my education. But, alas, it was not for me.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The History of Classical Music

It wesvery good except the clips were a little short and I did not learn a great deal. As an introduction to music appreciation, it is a good start.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-23-12

Very pleasant way to read a book !

This is a very informative audio book that takes you through the history of music . It is well presented by the actor Robert Powell whose' rich voice does the subject justice. A very interesting and absorbing way of taking in information!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lord Peridot
  • 02-25-19

Good introduction to world of western muisc - sacred and classical

This is a short but well constructed introduction to western classical music, starting with its origins as sacred chanting. There are helpful excerpts of music throughout the audiobook, not too long but enough to aurally illustrate the authors text. Very well read by Robert Powell. One would expect no less.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Heinali
  • 04-05-20

Great narrator, poor text.

The book is rushed and superficial, more like a brief introduction to the history of Western classical music. The narrator is excellent though and the production is top notch — with the abundance of relevant musical examples.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-27-19

I like it

It is helpful for me at this stage. The book provides a big picture with details. I enjoy the narrator’s performance and the music excerpts. There are bits here and there that I don’t follow but they are the reason to learn more about such a fascinating topic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-08-18

Fantastic audiobook

Loved all the little clips of music throughout the audiobook. Excellent introduction into classical music. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stewart Gibson
  • 10-30-17

Great concept

This is a great concept for an audio-book. Giving examples of the actual classic music to explain the text is how educational works should be. Comprehensive trot through a whole lifetime of Classics. You wont be sorry for the education you get.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 01-16-11

Terrible

Rather too academic in style but without any great depth of insight to justify the dry presentation. No narrative to hold it all together and it skipped around without any explanation of why. I found it hard work without any real reward.

2 people found this helpful