Language of the Spirit

Language of the Spirit

An Introduction to Classical Music

Paperback - 2017
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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 readers to the most important composers and compositions, and explains the underlying structure and logic of their music. Language of the Spirit is essential reading for anyone who has ever wished to know more about this sublime art.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2017]
ISBN: 9780465097548
Characteristics: xiii, 321 pages ; 22 cm


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Apr 18, 2018

I was looking forward to reading this, perhaps too much. Many composers are given 3 to 10 page bios which is focused on their work, slap on an intro and a conclusion, and the book is done. The writing is clear and inviting, and a touch personal.

Dec 14, 2017

A great compendium of the composers who have shaped our appreciation of music over the centuries. I am enjoying the author's suggested pieces for listening. See


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