Classical music seems to be less popular today than it has been in the past. Many people prefer hip-hop, pop, rock, rap, etc.; something they can relate to better than that of classical music. However, it is with the development of the variations of classical music and cultural and societal changes as time progressed that we get the music we have today.
So let’s take a moment to appreciate classical music and its influence on music today. We have created this list of books about classical music and some of the many composers that have produced and influenced classical music.
If you are interested in more information, instructional materials, or braille or large print scores, please visit the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled’s Music Materials page: https://www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/music-materials/.
P.S. If you want to listen to classical music, there are free music services such as the radio (especially NPR), Spotify, and Pandora.
Books about Classical Music
DB 60428 Classical music in America: a history of its rise and fall by Joseph Horowitz
American music historian and artistic adviser to several orchestras presents a social history of classical music in the United States. Chronicles the rise of the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia orchestras. Horowitz contends that the post-WWI performance-centered approach of American conductors and performers has been disadvantageous to native-born composers. 2005.
DB 91689 The story of classical music by Darren Henley
Examines music through the lives of the great composers and their environment, from the churches and cathedrals that produced the familiar sound of Gregorian chants, to Bach and Mozart, and on to the twenty-first century. Includes more than a hundred musical samples. Commercial audiobook. For grades 3-6 and older readers. 2004.
DB 93260 The indispensable composers: a personal guide by Anthony Tommasini
The chief classical music critic for the New York Times explores what makes a composer great. Inspired by his earlier series of articles seeking to determine the all-time top ten classical music composers, he examines seventeen composers that he considers essential to the canon. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
DB 86502 The orchestra: a very short introduction by D. Kern Holoman
Music professor and conductor examines the roots, structure, and day-to-day functioning of the modern philharmonic society. Argues that the orchestra is a powerful political and social force, seen as an essential element of civic pride. Examines the economics of orchestras and the role of race and gender in their formation. 2012.
DB 92850 Four musical minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass by Keith Potter
A music professor presents the lives and works of four composers known for musical minimalism. Each of the four sections covers a composer's early years, an overview of their careers, and an in-depth look at a signature composition. Also examines the context of musical minimalism in the fine arts. 2002.
Books about Composers
DB 27033 Fryderyk Chopin: pianist from Warsaw by William G. Atwood
DB 47805 Chopin in Paris: the life and times of the romantic composer by Tad Szulic
DB 65216 Chopin’s funeral by Benita Eisler
DB 92659 Chopin’s piano: in search of the instrument that transformed music by Paul Francis Kildea
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
DB 35415 Mozart by Marcia Davenport
DB 40451 Mozart: a life by Maynard Solomon
DB 63587 Mozart’s women: his family, his friends, his music by Jane Glover
Ludwig van Beethoven
DB 60403 Thayer’s life of Beethoven, volume 1 by Alexander Wheelock Thayer
DB 60404 Thayer’s life of Beethoven, volume 2 by Alexander Wheelock Thayer
DB 59127 Late Beethoven: music, thought, imagination by Maynard Solomon
DB 81022 Beethoven: anguish and triumph by Jan Swafford
Johann Sebastian Bach
DB 51541 Johann Sebastian Bach: the learned musician by Christoph Wolff
DB 63944 Johann Sebastian Bach: life and work by Martin Geck
DB 75467 Reinventing Bach by Paul Elie
DB 28741 Sergei Prokofiev: a biography by Harlow Robinson
DB 33518 Rachmaninoff: composer, pianist, conductor by Barrie Martyn
DB 36095 Copland, 1900 through 1942 by Aaron Copland
DB 36096 Copland: since 1943 by Aaron Copland
DB 49034 Aaron Copland: the life and work of an uncommon man by Howard Pollack
DB 94022 Debussy: a painter in sound by Stephen Walsh
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
DB 39508 Tchaikovsky remembered by David Brown
DB 40613 Tchaikovsky: the quest for the inner man by Alexander Poznansky
DB 79287 Tchaikovsky by Roland John Wiley
DB 25632 Schubert and his Vienna by Charles Osborne
DB 08978 And music at the close: Stravinsky’s last years: a personal memoir by Lillian Libman
DB 64238 Stravinsky: a creative spring: Russia and France, 1882-1934 by Stephen Walsh
DB 64247 Stravinsky: the second exile: France and America, 1934-1971 by Stephen Walsh
DB 39038 Verdi: a biography by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz
DB 92684 Verdi: the man revealed by John Suchet
DB 50021 Wagner without fear: learning to love – and even enjoy – opera’s most demanding genius by William Berger
DB 55376 The Tristan chord: Wagner and philosophy by Bryan Magee
DB 67483 The Wagner clan: the saga of Germany’s most illustrious and infamous family by Jonathan Carr
DB 81651 Words without music: a memoir by Philip Glass
DB 77443 Begin again: a biography of John Cage by Kenneth Silverman
DB 10338 Charles Ives remembered: an oral history by Vivian Perlis
DB 36587 Charles Ives, “my father’s song”: a psychoanalytic biography by Stuart Feder
Ruth Crawford Seeger
DB 47331 Ruth Crawford Seeger: a composer’s search for American music by Judith Tick