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Daniel Felsenfeld's 'Tchaikovsky - A Listener's Guide',
reviewed by ANNA L FRANCO


Tchaikovsky -- A Listener's Guide by Daniel Felsenfeld is part of the Unlocking the Masters series of Amadeus Press, with Series Editor, Robert Levine. The book is a thorough examination of some of the composer's major works with two accompanying Naxos CDs for the listener. It was written primarily about the composer's music, and not as biography. The analysis describes the works from many different aspects, however: musical, historical, literary, and emotional explanations all make up part of the text, and the music is often explained within the context of the composer's life.

Unlocking the Masters: 'Tchaikovsky - A Listener's Guide' by Daniel Felsenfeld. © 2006 Amadeus Press

After a short introduction, the book considers the Romeo and Juliet Overture. Felsenfeld divides the work into three musical moods: the sighing theme, the love theme, and the war episode. Included in the chapter are two excerpts from opening and closing passages of Shakespeare's play to compare the moods of the author with that of the composer. The chapter also includes a slightly confusing synopsis of Shakespeare's play, in which it appears that Juliet's cousin Tybalt is killed twice, but that was the only confusion that I found in an otherwise polished book.

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Copyright © 14 August 2007 Anna L Franco, New York City, USA


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