The fullest enjoyment of an orchestral performance or a record concert comes with a background of knowledge about the music itself. This handbook is designed to help music lovers get the ultimate pleasure from their listening by providing them with that background about a large portion of the orchestral repertoire. Professor Ferguson analyzes and interprets the most important classical symphonies, overtures, and concertos, as well as selected orchestral works of modern composers. He goes beyond a conventional analysis of structure since he believes (with a majority of the music-loving public) that great music is actually a communication -- that it expresses significant emotions. The great composers, on their own testimony, have striven not merely to create perfect forms but to interpret human experience. Mingled with the analyses, then, the reader will find comments on the expressive purport of the music. For 25 years Professor Ferguson has supplied the program notes for the subscription concerts of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, and this volume is an outgrowth of that activity. In preparing the material for book publication, however, he studied the musical compositions anew, and the resulting chapters provide a much deeper exploration of the musical subjects than did the program notes. The themes of important works are illustrated by musical notations, and a brief glossary explains technical terms.
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