Composers on Composers

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This reference provides a new perspective on the work of music's great composers from Bach to Stravinsky, by compiling the comments and criticism offered by other composers, such as Mahler, Wagner, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, and many others. Holmes presents an assessment of composers and musical developments as seen not specifically by the critics but by the composers' peers. While acknowledging that not all composers were necessarily perceptive critics and that few were able to sufficiently distance themselves from their own and others' work to be objective, the book offers many insights in the comments made by composers. The book is organized into 78 short chapters, each focussing on one composer and relating the complimentary or caustic comments made about him by as many as 20 other composers. The chapters are arranged alphabetically by composer and presented in a narrative form, offering years of birth and death and an introductory sentence along with the quotations. The sources of all quotations are documented in a separate note section, and an index of the 85 composers quoted and their subjects is also included. More than just a book of musical anecdotes, this reference will be an important addition to both public and university libraries. It will also be of interest to scholars of music criticism and history, critics and writers who will find it a useful source of quotes, and the general reader interested in music.