The Beloved Vision: A History of Nineteenth Century Music

Pegasus. Oct. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781639362363. $29.95. MUSIC
Musicologist Walsh (emeritus, Cardiff Univ.; Debussy: A Painter in Sound) offers a kaleidoscopic look at the music of the Euro-American Romantic period, which continues to occupy a prominent place on today’s concert and opera stages. He sets the music in the context of its times and explains the philosophy of the Romantic movement. In lively and descriptive prose, accessible to the student and audience member alike, he sets forth on a journey of discovery through the Euro-American Romantic canon. The book is full of interesting details, trenchant observations and, above all, keen insights into the music and its creators (including Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Dvorak, and Brahms). The Romantic period in music (roughly 1820 until 1910) corresponded with turbulent times in the West (revolutions; reactions against the Industrial Revolution; the rise of nationalism; the collapse of empires). Walsh deftly weaves historical events with musical milestones to create a colorful and compelling narrative.
VERDICT Recommended for any concertgoer who wants to go beyond the program notes and learn more about the enduring treasures of 19th-century Western music, and their creators.
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