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Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Student’s Guide to Music History (ISI), by R.J. Stove

Book Review

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A Student’s Guide to Music History might make a good textbook. It’s inexpensive and handy enough to slip into the pocket of a parka. It’s also entertainingly opinionated, even when the opinions are goofy. Many of us will take exception to a certain slant in the Australian writer’s perspective: He seems to put the NEA under the same heading as Axis cultural agencies. Paleo-conservative politics aside, Stove is a witty writer and perceptive on pre-World War II classical music. At less than 140 pages, including a useful bibliography, Stove’s book paints in broad but vivid strokes about the Western European art music tradition.