Perfect Pitch: 100 Pieces of Classical Music To Bring Joy, Tears, Solace, Empathy, Inspiration (& Everything in Between)

Short Bks. Oct. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781780725284. $16.99. MUSIC
British World War II historian—and non-musicologist—Bouverie (Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War) offers prospective music mavens a product from his pandemic lockdown—a personally selected, contextualized list of classical compositions from the last three centuries (from Henry Purcell to Richard Strauss). Chronologically arranged, the essays recommend one favorite recording of each work. Bouverie has made these recordings accessible through Spotify by including a web address and QR code. Included are concertos, preludes, sonatas, ballets, operas, overtures, and symphonies that are almost exclusively the output of European men (with the exception of Louise Farrenc and George Gershwin.) Bouverie notes that many composers started out as prodigies, which fortunately allowed them to leave a solid cultural legacy before their often-untimely deaths from disease.
VERDICT Self-described by the author as a non-definitive work, this book fulfills its stated mission of being a portable collection of reflections on Western classical music, although the entries might be too teasingly brief for some readers. Compare with the 366 entries in Year of Wonder: Classical Music To Enjoy Day by Day, by violinist and former BBC arts presenter Clemency Burton-Hill.
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