Review by Choice Review
Plantinga's book is a solid achievement, and it seems an odds-on choice as the new standard text for both undergraduate and graduate courses centered on 19th-century European music. There is much to admire: the firm yet flexible organization of a great mass of diverse material with fine care for balance and deft narrative control; the precise and surprisingly detailed discussion of some 20 focal compositions, utilizing an analytic stance that is determinedly eclectic; the plentiful visual materials that cogently and at times playfully illuminate Plantinga's clean and lively prose. Rich in fact and insights, the book never suffers from ``survey-condensation'' in prose style, but makes interesting reading in its own right. It joins Richard Hoppin's Medieval Music (CH, Dec '78) in a projected six-volume historical series from Norton. Hoppin's book was an excellent start, but Plantinga's text and analyses surpass in it many respects. A companion volume of musical scores, Anthology of Romantic Music, edited by Plantinga (1984), is closely integrated with this history. Even very modest libraries should give the highest priority to this book; larger collections will acquire it, along with the anthology, as a matter course.-C. Isaac, Austin College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.