THe Story of Classical Music

THe Story of Classical MusicTHE STORY OF CLASSICAL MUSIC. Darren Henley. 2004. Read by Marin Alsop. 4 cds. 4.5 hrs. Naxos Audiobooks. 0-62634-3109. $19.99. Plastic; content notes. JSA

CLASSICAL MUSIC 101: COMPLETE GUIDE TO LEARNING AND LOVING CLASSICAL MUSIC. Fred Plotkin. 2002/ 2004. Read by the author. 14 tapes. 19.5 hrs. Blackstone Audiobooks. 0-7861-2636-1. $89.95. Vinyl; content, author notes. JSA

These two guides to classical music are very different. That Plotkin's encyclopedic guide is more than four times as long as Henley's gives some idea of the depth to which each author goes. Despite not having the same degree of detail, the Henley survey is more fun to listen to since it has short clips (one to two minutes) of each of the pieces of music that Henley describes.

Having listened to Alsop's spirited reading of Henley's interesting text first, it was sort of a letdown not to have at least some music on the Plotkin audio book. Although Plotkin often recommends listening to a whole piece of music (giving recommendations for specific recordings by specific artists), even a short clip would add to the enjoyment and understanding of many of the specific points that Plotkin makes about composers, artists, and recordings in his marvelous study of classical music. Having to put on another tape or CD is much more difficult if you are listening to the audiobook while driving or exercising. As the author, Plotkin is able to read the text as if he is speaking to an interested friend. In the end I am able to recommend both of these fine introductions to classical music but for very different reasons. Hugh Flick, Jr., Silliman College, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.