The Life and Death of Classical Music

The Life and Death of Classical Music

Featuring the 100 Best and 20 Worst Recordings Ever Made

Book - 2007
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Random House, Inc.
In this compulsively readable, fascinating, and provocative guide to classical music, Norman Lebrecht, one of the world’s most widely read cultural commentators tells the story of the rise of the classical recording industry from Caruso’s first notes to the heyday of Bernstein, Glenn Gould, Callas, and von Karajan.

Lebrecht compellingly demonstrates that classical recording has reached its end point–but this is not simply an expos? of decline and fall. It is, for the first time, the full story of a minor art form, analyzing the cultural revolution wrought by Schnabel, Toscanini, Callas, Rattle, the Three Tenors, and Charlotte Church. It is the story of how stars were made and broken by the record business; how a war criminal conspired with a concentration-camp victim to create a record empire; and how advancing technology, boardroom wars, public credulity and unscrupulous exploitation shaped the musical backdrop to our modern lives. The book ends with a suitable shrine to classical recording: the author’s critical selection of the 100 most important recordings–and the 20 most appalling.

Filled with memorable incidents and unforgettable personalities–from Goddard Lieberson, legendary head of CBS Masterworks who signed his letters as God; to Georg Solti, who turned the Chicago Symphony into “ the loudest symphony on earth”–this is at once the captivating story of the life and death of classical recording and an opinioned, insider’s guide to appreciating the genre, now and for years to come.

Baker & Taylor
Looks at the rise and fall of the classical music recording industry, from the first notes of Enrico Caruso; to the heyday of Bernstein, Could, Callas, and Karajan; to the industry's collapse in the wake of corporate control and the growth of "crossover," citing the finest one hundred and the worst twenty classical recordings ever made. Original. 30,000 first printing.

Book News
Lebrecht reviews milestones in the history of classical music recording and lists his opinion of the 100 best and 20 worst recordings. From the beginning of the twentieth century, he discusses the roles of conductors, record labels, pertinent changes in the recording industry, and the reasons for its demise. The second section of the book lists the recordings, ranging from 1902 to 2004, with discussion of their relative merit--or poor quality. Lebrecht is assistant editor of the Evening Standard in London, a writer, and presenter of BBC's Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, c2007
ISBN: 9781400096589
Characteristics: xii, 324 p. : ill. ; 21 cm


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