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Joseph Haydn is one of the greatest and most innovative of all composers, yet in some ways he is still curiously misunderstood. This engaging new Pocket Guide assesses what Haydn’s music means to us today, and challenges some of the myths that have grown up around the composer. With suggestions for further reading and recommended CD recordings, Richard Wigmore’s crisp and concise guide presents you with all you need to listen to and enjoy Haydn’s music. It explores each of his key works, from his symphonies to his quartets, from his choral works to his sonatas, and invites a new generation of listeners to discover the depth and dazzling ingenuity of this most humane and life-affirming of composers.
With each new release, Faber's enterprising pocket guide series is growing into an invaluable library. Compact, concise, and crammed with information, these conveniently sized volumes offer more than mere introductions to their subjects. Both these new offerings are models of rich but lightly worn scholarship. Richard Wigmore may stretch to breaking point the notions of 'compact' and 'concise' with his near-400 pages but it seems unlikely that a better or more readable one-volume book on Haydn will appear in this 200th anniversary year of his death. ... While the tone is approachable and jargon-free, the arguments are commendably well researched and argued, achieving a reach that is comprehensive and encyclopaedic - surprisingly, but satisfyingly so, given the limitations of space. These are perfect concert companions and will please the novice and aficionado alike.
It's that ... breadth of cultural-historical perspective, fused with enthusiasm for and deep knowledge of the music that makes The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn a worth successor to Robbins Landon and the most valuable contribution to the anniversary market. As Nicholas Kenyon's Mozart volume has proved, the Faber guides are a more substantial undertaking than the 'pocket' appellation suggests. Wigmore's lightly worn erudition is deceptive: without over-simplifying he has a knack of clarifying and contextualising all the relevant material and is not afraid to give us the benefit of his own opinion. In his magisterial guide to individual works, he offers more insights than any other Haydn authority.
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