12 July 2006

The Oxford Dictionary of Music

Actually this is what should be called (for the want of a better term) a dictionary of classical music, because it does not seek to cover all musical genres. Entries run from the note A to the Polish soprano Teresa Zylis-Gara, and include major (and minor) composers plus their works, famous performers and conductors, characters from operas, musical concepts and genres, musical instruments, and even mini-essays on topics such as 'Electronic Music'.It's as up-to-date as one could expect for a work of reference of this kind. There are 12,500 entries on all aspects of the subject, and topics stretch from music of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to potted biographies of contemporary composers such as Judith Weir and performers such as Cecilia Bartoli. I checked against (for instance) George Benjamin (b. 1960) and Thomas Adès (b. 1970) - and both of them had entries. Its one nod towards 'popular' music is to include mention of song composers such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter ... Read more >>

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