Cover image for Classical music : the 50 greatest composers and their 1,000 greatest works
Classical music : the 50 greatest composers and their 1,000 greatest works
Goulding, Phil G., 1921-1998.
First trade paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Fawcett Columbine, 1995.

Physical Description:
xix, 635 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
MT6.G685 C6 1992C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Who are the ten most important classical composers? Who in the world was Palestrina? Why did Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" cause a riot? Which five of each important composer's works should you buy? What is a concerto and how does it differ from a sonata?
Maybe you don't know the answers to these questions; author Phil Goulding certainly didn't. When Goulding first tried to learn about classical music, he found himself buried in an avalanche of technical terms and complicated jargon--so he decided to write the book he couldn't find.
The result is a complete classical music education in one volume. Comprehensive, discriminating, and delightfully irreverent, Classical Music provides such essential information as:
* Rankings of the top 50 composers (Bach is #1. Borodin is #50)
* A detailed and anecdotal look at each composer's life and work
* The five primary works of each composer and specific recommended CDs for each.
* Further great works of each composer--if you really like him
* Concise explanations of musical terminology, forms, and periods
* A guide to the parts and history of the symphony orchestra
"This book uses every conceivable gimmick to immerse readers in the richness of classical music: lists, rankings, sidebars devoted to lively anecdotes, and catchy leads."
--The Washington Post
"One terrific music appreciation book...The information is surprisingly detailed but concisely presented. Goulding's writing style is breezy yet mature....[He] has raised music appreciation from a racket to a service."
--The Arizona Daily Star

Author Notes

Phil G. Goulding was born in San Francisco in 1921, grew up in Cleveland, attended Hamilton College in upstate New York, and spent World War II in the Navy. He has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1950 as a newspaper reporter, an assistant secretary of defense, and a petroleum industry executive. He wrote Confirm or Deny, a book about the Pentagon, the press, and the public. With his wife, Miriam, he now divides his time between Washington and a Chateaugay Lake cabin in the Adirondacks.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The dogmatic title of this book is enough to raise the hackles of any music lover. That's unfortunate, because this is a well-designed primer on music for the intelligent but uninformed listener of any age. At 63, Goulding, a Washington newspaper journalist who moved to high government and business posts in defense and oil, attempted to learn something about classical music. Amazingly, he found no helpful sources for the adult absolute beginner. Ten years later, he presents this book for those in the same quandary. The user-friendly format features charts, pictures, and sidebars, simple explanations of musical terms, and descriptions of instruments. The writing flows easily, and the text is readable and browsable. There is nothing new here, but Goulding has done his homework carefully and thoroughly. Recommended for the curious but illiterate music lover.-- Philippa Kiraly, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.