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Summary

To appreciate the beauty of great works of music, we must be familiar with the lives of the geniuses who composed them. For in the personalities and life-stories of great composers is the key to their masterpieces.

Here are vivid stories of men who dreamed, struggled and suffered so that they might give expression to their divine gifts. And here are also frank stories of human beings, many of whom lived exciting lives of romance and adventure. These are Living biographies and they have the fascination of fiction illumined and strengthened with the permanent appeal of historical fact.

(P) 1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks; Published By Arrangement With Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

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Profile Image for Jay Quintana
  • Jay Quintana
  • 10-08-03

Nice mini-biographies, but...

No music. I was hoping the narration (which is okay, not great) would be broken up now and again with samples from the composers' works.

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Profile Image for Nanying Jia
  • Nanying Jia
  • 12-06-21

Not a Serious Book

If you are interested in learning the great arts of these composers and the impact of their music work, this is not the book for you. The narrator did a decent job but alas the book was poorly conceived. The focus of the book is clearly on the private lives of the composers the author covered (one chapter for each composer), especially their love lives. At the end of each chapter, I have no idea why that particular composer was considered "great", because the most common theme seemed to be how many women the composer was involved with over his lifetime. The accuracy of the historical events is also questionable. For example, did Beethoven really meet Mozart? Other books I read always treated this with some caution as many believed that the historic record was pretty sketchy on this one. But the author of this book described it with total certainty. According to the book author, not only did Beethoven meet Mozart, he actually took a few music lessons from him!

I thought at first that I could at least learn something about other aspects of the composers' lives, if not their artistic work. But I finally stopped at Wagner, and saw no reason to finish listening.