Kirkus Star


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Another mammoth tome in the Simon & Schuster series, which, save for certain limitations, will stand up well with Men of Art, and by nature of subject and material, should have a greater audience-appeal than Men of Mathematics. It falls short of Men of Art from the critical angle. The authors, though familiar with the field, do not have the subjective, interpretative quality which made the Craven book so spirited and challenging. They are orthodox, just-mean condensers of general opinion. In other words, it is a sound if not individualized piece of work. And to carp once again, this time from a stylistic angle, the inclusion of certain colloquialisms and lapses into journalese seem out of place in a book of this kind, and stature, though it is all undoubtedly aimed at further popularization of the material. But on the whole it is a very comprehensive, sound book -- and readable -- which should hit the spot. No one will quibble with the choice of men, to each a chapter: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, von Weber, Rossini , Schubert, Mendelssohn , Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Strauss, Sibelius, and Stravinsky. The life history of each, musical development, significance of contribution, it's all there -- biography and commentary intermingled in smooth narrative. A gargantuan piece of work, equally important for reference as for pure reading enjoyment.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1939
Publisher: Simon & Schuster