Sound Within Sound: Radical Composers of the Twentieth Century

Abrams. Nov. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781419753565. $30. MUSIC
There is a famous James Brown song, “It’s a Man’s World,” and in the realm of classical music composers, it is a white man’s world. Non-white, non-male composers are rarely, if ever, acknowledged, never mind hearing their work performed. Classical music critic Molleson (host of BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show and Music Matters) rips the curtain away from the boys’ club by introducing readers to a wide variety of international composers who are women and/or BIPOC, including Julián Carrillo, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Galina Ustvolskaya, Éliane Radigue, and Annea Lockwood. Through the lens of 10 composer profiles, the book urges readers to open their eyes and ears and encourages them to go beyond the classical canon and broaden their sonic horizons; includes a list of further reading.
VERDICT Not intended to be comprehensive, this work whets the appetite to explore new sonorities. An essential title for academic institutions, especially ones with music programs, and useful for broadening public library collections.
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