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A guide to Mozart's instrumental music,
recommended by RON BIERMAN


David Hurwitz is one of the best known classical-music critics. His name has been prominent in music magazines for years, and he is now also an executive editor at the on-line site, Classics Today. Getting The Most Out Of Mozart is one of a series of books he is writing about how to increase the pleasure of listening to well-known composers. It's a terrific introduction to Mozart for relatively inexperienced listeners, and well worth reading for anyone without formal training in composition. Even those with training may find it valuable. Hurwitz has a clear style and a fresh way of looking at great music that ignores the sometimes joyless layers of tradition.

Getting the Most Out of Mozart - The Instrumental Works. David Hurwitz. © 2005 Amadeus Press

The book, consisting primarily of analysis, reminded me that music composition and criticism are constant struggles to judge the right mix of intellect and emotion. Audiences are more likely to respond immediately to the latter, hence the well-deserved popularity of pieces such as The 1812 Overture, Bolero and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Without analysis, they evoke strong emotions and make a favorable impression. Many composers and critics however have contempt for such works. Their analysis leads them to ask, 'How can you listen to Bolero? It just repeats the same trite melodic elements ad nauseum.'

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Copyright © 20 July 2006 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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