Oxford History of Western Music

Oxford History of Western Music : (5 Volumes)

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"The Oxford History of Western Music" is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, "The Oxford History of Western Music" provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period - key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events - influenced and directed compositional choices. Unlike earlier surveys, Taruskin provides greater attention to the full range of 20th century music, including American music as part of the mainstream tradition of western music, women in music, and popular music. The five volumes of main text each have musical examples and black and white pictures throughout, source notes, and an index. The sixth volume contains a comprehensive chronology, further reading, and an index to the entire set.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 4250 pages
  • 256 x 258 x 200mm | 8,881.29g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones, maps and music examples
  • 0195169794
  • 9780195169799

Review quote

...astonishing (and achieved) enterprise to relate the entire history of music in the post-classical West in six large volumes. One of the most sublimely hubristic enterprises that the humanities have seen in recent decades. Open the book at any point, and the account is liable to be as good as anything to be found in any other broad survey of the musical history of this period that is currently available, and often better. Christopher Page, TLS This Oxford history is authoritative, opinionated and controversial, which is not surprising given that all six volumes are written by one man - and the most prominent and provocative musicologist of our time at that. A magisterial survey of the traditions of western music. The Economist Best Books of the Year A path-breaking work of cultural criticism, and an unrivalled vindication of western civilisation. Roger Scruton, New Statesman One of the most brilliant exercises in cultural history tout court produced since the end of the second world war. Ian Bostridge, The Guardian Every now and then a quiet discipline in the humanities receives a shattering and world-changing shock, when one of its stars leaves its allotted orbit and crashes brain-first into the centre of the subject. The effect is like an asteroid hitting the earth: old life is extinguished, new life promoted, and the landscape for ever transformed. Such was the impact on our time of Leavis on academic English, of Wittgenstein on academic Philosophy, and the Aries in academic History. Such, too, will be the impact - so I predict - of Richard Taruskin on academic Musicology... the greatest musicological task of all... one of the great cultural moments of our day. There is not a page without insight, and not a chapter that does not fundamentally change the reader's perspective on its subject matter. The Oxford History of Western Music is not a work of reference - it is a visionary addition to our understanding of our culture. Roger Scruton, TLS Taruskin's amazing vitality, musicality and acumen... [The Oxford History of Western Music is an] extraordinary achievement...monumental. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Volume 132, Part 2, 2007show more

About Richard Taruskin

Richard Taruskin is professor of musicology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to this work, Taruskin is also the author of such books as Music in the Western World: A History in Documents (1985), Text & Act (OUP, 1995), and Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (1996). He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, New Republic, and many other scholarly journals.show more

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82 ratings
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3 2% (2)
2 1% (1)
1 2% (2)
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