The Art-Music Forum

Little-known music of all eras => Books about composers and their music => Topic started by: calyptorhynchus on August 01, 2016, 10:42:14 am



Title: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 01, 2016, 10:42:14 am
I know Tovey's Essays in Musical Analysis, Robert Simpson's books on Nielsen and Bruckner and Malcolm MacDonald's three volumes on Havergal Brian's symphonies.

Can anyone recommend similar works which give blow-by-blow accounts of symphonic music?


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: guest54 on August 02, 2016, 08:26:44 am
As a youth in the fifties of the last century I gained most of my musical knowledge from two books;

1) The Symphony, edited by Ralph Hill (1949). 458 pages full of serious detailed analysis of, and musical examples from, particular works by the composers Haydn, Mozart, van Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Franck, Bruckner, Brahms, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Mahler, Elgar, Sibelius, Vaughan-Williams, Rachmaninov and Bax, as well as an essay on the development of the symphony down the years. A different author for each composer.

Available from Abebooks for a pound or two.

2) The Concerto, edited by Ralph Hill (1952). 448 pages full of serious detailed analysis of, and musical examples from, particular works by the composers J.S.Bach, Haydn, Mozart, van Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Grieg, Elgar, Delius, Sibelius, Busoni, Rachmaninov, Medtner, Ravel, Bloch, Bartok, Szymanowski, Berg, Prokofiev, and Walton, as well as essays on the virtuoso concerto, on "some English concertos", on "variation forms", and on the development of the concerto down the years. A different author for each composer.

Also available from Abebooks for a pound or two.

I highly recommend these two volumes.


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: Gauk on August 03, 2016, 08:17:04 am
Trouble is, those don't go into a lot of detail on individual works. I have both sitting on my shelf and they are definitely worth reading, but I would still like to find the equal of Robert Simpson's analyses. I suspect one would have to trawl back issues of the Musical Times to find the like - not collected into books.


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 03, 2016, 10:06:23 am
Thanks Sydney, I think Penguin later published two volumes to replace The Symphony and I have the later one covering C20 symphonies (edited by Robert Simpson)... but I'll check out the concerto volume.

Gauk, I know what you mean, you'd think there'd be multiple volumes in that genre.


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: Gauk on August 09, 2016, 07:13:50 pm
I finally got my copy of Malcolm MacDonald's opus on Havergal Brian - I've been after it for years. Secondhand hardbacks in good condition at a reasonable price. Just in time to go with the new Dutton release of #2 and #14.


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2016, 04:02:06 pm
I finally got my copy of Malcolm MacDonald's opus on Havergal Brian - I've been after it for years. Secondhand hardbacks in good condition at a reasonable price. Just in time to go with the new Dutton release of #2 and #14.

 I treasure the copies of each of the three volumes which Malcolm sent to me when they were published-free of charge but more importantly signed by him. Volume One is inscribed "To Colin-In Ancient Friendship". :) There is not often that I listen to one of the symphonies without the relevant volume to hand. No books on music that I have ever come across combine such detailed technical analysis with the incredible ability to enhance one's understanding and appreciation of the music through the vivid power of the writing. It undoubtedly helps that I knew him so well as a young man but when I read his descriptions I can still hear his voice. What a loss he was :( But he lives on through these and his other books :)


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: Latvian on October 15, 2016, 09:53:33 pm
Quote
I treasure the copies of each of the three volumes which Malcolm sent to me when they were published-free of charge but more importantly signed by him. Volume One is inscribed "To Colin-In Ancient Friendship". Smiley There is not often that I listen to one of the symphonies without the relevant volume to hand. No books on music that I have ever come across combine such detailed technical analysis with the incredible ability to enhance one's understanding and appreciation of the music through the vivid power of the writing. It undoubtedly helps that I knew him so well as a young man but when I read his descriptions I can still hear his voice. What a loss he was Sad But he lives on through these and his other books Smiley

This set is among the best musical analyses I know of. I bought the first volume in the late 1970s, soon after it was published, when I was in the throes of my initial passion for Brian's music. His insightful, musically erudite, and engagingly written analyses helped me greatly in gaining a better understanding of the works and Brian's style.

I had a brief correspondence with him when I was preparing the American premiere of Brian's "By the Waters of Babylon," fifteen years ago. He didn't really have much to contribute to the rather little that was known about the work, but was kindly encouraging and appreciative of my efforts.

The chapter on Brian in the Penguin 2-volume set of "The Symphony," mentioned in another post on this thread, was actually my initial introduction to Brian in the early 1970s. The information in that chapter was incredibly tantalizing, and I read and re-read it in anticipation of actually hearing some of the music. When I finally managed to hear a work by Brian it was the "Gothic" on the Aries pirate LP set, and it blew me away. Forty-plus years later, the work still does!


Title: Re: Wanted: works of analysis of symphonic music
Post by: calyptorhynchus on December 10, 2018, 07:43:25 pm
I've found another work that is similar in approach to Tovey, Simpson &c.

Cuthbert Girdlestone, Mozart and his Piano Concertos, 2nd Ed 1958

 :D