Review by Choice Review
Rosen's expertise as a concert pianist and musicologist (The Classical Style, CH, May'73; Sonata Forms, CH, Dec'80) and in mathematics, French literature, philosophy, and modern languages provides an unusually rich background for the interdisciplinary approach taken here. Rosen focuses on composers whose styles were defined in the late 1820s and early 1830s because "the music of the 1830s was explicitly entangled with art, literature, politics, and personal life." Since this book originated as the Charles Eliot Norton lectures that Rosen gave in 1980-81 at Harvard and subsequently expanded, the individual chapters deal with discrete subjects, but all embody the concept of an interlinked cultural fabric. This is more than a discussion of music. For example, concepts discussed in "The Fragment as Romantic Form" are viewed in their literary and philosophic guises as well as in music; the chapter "Landscape and Music" shows the relationship of landscape painting and poetry to music, and demonstrates how musical devices such as horn calls evoke the image of the hunt and the feeling of nature. Always the reader is left with the character and thought of the period. Rosen's writing is concise, clear, and readable. A compact disk accompanies the book, providing readers with Rosen's performances of some of the musical examples. Highly recommended for all academic and general libraries. H. J. Diamond; CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Pianist and professor Rosen helps us understand the harmonic and rhythmic variety and the virtuosity required of performers that make romantic music appeal to so many. The music of the classical period--of Haydn, Beethoven, and early Schubert--markedly adhered to formal structures of rhythm, pitch, and organization. Composers of romantic music relaxed that conformity and added tone color. Romantic music was composed of fragments, of the smallest phrases that could stand complete and isolated, but it also attempted to create a coherent world not dependent on reality. Rosen covers the development of romantic music, beginning with Schubert's invention of the song cycle, continuing with the piano music of Chopin and Liszt, looking at the religious "kitsch" of Mendelssohn, proceeding to the instrumental and choral works of Berlioz and the operas of Meyerbeer and Bellini, and ending with the piano and chamber music of Schumann. Long on analysis of significant musical examples (728 accompany the text) and short on summary comments on the nature of romantic music, this is a worthy fellow to Rosen's prizewinning Classical Style (1980). --Alan Hirsch
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This logical and long-awaited sequel to Rosen's award-winning The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (LJ 5/15/71) once again demonstrates the author's extraordinary insights. Rosen explains and describes the first half of the 19th century in conjunction with literature, art, and social changes; for example, he compares the content and format of early 19th-century poetry with the smaller contemporary musical forms. Rosen also examines the lives of the composers and pursues some detailed analysis of numerous compositions to make his points. The result if a fresh, challenging, and stimulating view of the society in which Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and Schumann flourished. Highly recommended.-Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Author/teacher/concert pianist Rosen delivers a monumental follow-up to his award-winning The Classical Style (not reviewed), here concentrating on the generation of European composers who ``came of age'' in the 1820s and 1830s: Liszt, Schumann, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Bellini, and, first and foremost, Chopin. This is not an easy read. The greater part of Rosen's arguments require not only the ability to read music but also a firm grasp of basic music theory. Although we are promised a CD of musical examples (not received for review), it seems questionable whether it could allow a musical layperson to comprehend the twists and turns of Rosen's analyses. The thrust of those discussions is to illuminate some of the more startling and masterful changes in musical form that occurred as ``Classical'' gave way to ``Romantic.'' Despite the rise of certain specific ``Romantic'' values (such as the worth attached to the musical fragment), Rosen does not find a wide-scale disintegration of form; rather, he sees old forms reconstituted in new and surprising ways. The unexpected hero of Rosen's musings is Chopin. Arguing persuasively (and at length) for Chopin's innovative formal genius, Rosen removes him from the realm of the salon pianist and places him on a par with Bach in his treatment of large-scale counterpoint and the subtlety of his ``inner voices.'' Rosen is no stranger to controversy, and his advocacy of Chopin will seem provocative to some, as will his decision to omit entirely women composers like Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann on the (questionable) grounds that he does not wish to obscure the ``real tragedy'' that society prevented them from completing the mature work of which they were capable. The compilation of this volume from disparate previously published pieces and lectures may account for an occasional unwieldiness that largely was edited out of Rosen's earlier works. Still, a valuable and important book.
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