THE ORCHESTRA by Alan Blackwood


An Introduction to the World of Classical Music
Age Range: 8 & up
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 A wealth of information and hundreds of illustrations, compactly presented but marred by sloppy editing and a cluttered layout. Here we get an excellent history of the orchestra and its music; detailed looks at instrumental families and individual instruments, with clear illustrations of each (a few are misleading: the flute and piccolo are shown gold rather than the more common silver; labels identifying the clarinet and bass clarinet are switched); lists of compositions featuring each instrument (these would form an excellent basic library of orchestral music); and an interesting ``day in the life'' of a member of the London Symphony. Pleasantly, a woman is chosen--but must our first sight of her be in a swimsuit, playing her violin in the surf for a silly p.r. shot? The first and last decorated pages are printed backwards. Some of the many other errors: diagrams of beat patterns show the conductor's hand from the orchestra's point of view but the beat patterns from the conductor's side; diagram #4 doesn't match its description; there are contradictory statements about how violists grip their bows. The marginal decorations not only add to the clutter but, oddly, are snippets from a keyboard score! Excellent in conception, but far less so in execution. Glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 8+)

Pub Date: April 15th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56294-202-6
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Millbrook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993