The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music
Don Michael Randel
Harvard University Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 1013 pages
An incomparable guide to the thousands of characters, from humble artisan to lofty genius, who people the unfolding history of music, this volume brings together all the pertinent biographical information about composers, performers, music theorists, and instrument makers from the days of praise chants to the bop and pop of today. A long-awaited companion to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, and compiled with the same meticulous scholarship and delight in detail, this biographical dictionary emphasizes classical and art music, but also gives ample attention to jazz and blues, rock and pop, and hymns and showtunes across the ages--with unusual care devoted to coverage of the twentieth century.
That the Belgian composer Jean Absil was professor of fugue at the Brussels Conservatory is a little-known fact. And few are aware that Roy Acuff began his country-and-western career in medicine shows. The writings of the seventeenth-century organist Jakob Adlung may be obscure, while Theodor Adorno's are widely read and studied. But they can all be found in the A's, along with 218 more entries, from Herb Alpert and the Andrews Sisters to Carl Friedrich Abel and Emanuel Ax. And this is only the beginning.
Here then is the information you need about 5500 figures in the world of music--the major, the minor, the famous, the nearly forgotten, from Bach and Beethoven to Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, and Bruce Springsteen--capsule summaries of the lives and careers behind the music enjoyed in every era. The volume is enlivened with illustrations, some revelations in themselves.
A compendium that no music lover should be without, this rich volume, along with The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, constitutes the standard reference work for the musically inclined, the curious, the informed, and the expert.
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The Harvard biographical dictionary of musicUser Review - Book Verdict
Designed as a companion volume to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (Harvard Univ., 1986), this volume primarily features brief entries on 5500 historical and contemporary composers of Western art and concert music, with some popular figures (e.g., Ray Charles) included. Compared with editor Nicolas Slonimsky's excellent Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (LJ 1/92. 8th ed.) or Michael Kennedy's Oxford Dictionary of Music (Oxford Univ., 1994. 2d ed.), HBDM comes in a weak third, with numerous contemporary performers (e.g., Eschenbach) and composers (e.g., Santos) missing. Additionally, no rationale for inclusion or omission is provided. Updating also is spotty, with many contemporary entries stopping in the early Eighties. Recommended only as a supplementary volume to the aforementioned titles for large music collections.--Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Tex.
Review: The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Harvard University Press Reference Library)User Review - Au Yong Chee Tuck - Goodreads
The entries of non-classical performers are treated in a clinical manner and limited to their careers only. There is no mention of the issues in their personal lives that could have affected their ... Read full review