Stephen Fry's Imcomplete & Utter History Of Classical Music
- Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date:
- 02 September 2005
Showing 1-4 out of 4 reviews.
As a reader with a limited knowledge of Classical Composers and Music I found this both entertaining and informative. It gives a broad overview of the development of music from the begining to the near present, including short biographies of some great composers. A worthwhile read.
This book attempts to be a basic and humourous history of western Classical music from the year dot to practically the present day. It is based on a radio series that Steven Fry did for Classic FM a little while ago.As I've said above, this is an attempt, and I don't think the book really achieves what it sets out to do. Yes its mildly funny in places, but the same tired jokes crop up over and over and over again. It is written very much in Steven Fry's style, but I guess the radio series might have been more entertaining as you could hear his voice as well.Although the book doesn't claim to be comprehensive, it ends up being such a whistle-stop tour that every time you think it is going to get interesting, it veers off into the next decade (or something). Hardly anything is covered in any great depth (with the possible exception of his two favourite composers, Mozart and Wagner) so it didn't leave me feeling any wiser than I was before.I think I may have read some of Steven Fry's fiction books, but this doesn't come anywhere near something that I might choose to recommend. Really awful.
I can imagine that, as occasional snippets upon the radio, these jolly japes were most amusing: as a book, however, the humour is too overpowering. Either write a comedy book, or a chronological history of music: I would have thoroughly enjoyed either but found trying to pick one from the other tedious. Stephen Fry comes across as a bit of a clever dick and the overall package is disappointing.
As a brief history of classical music this book is okay, it does give you a bit of information without being too heavy and it is a relatively easy read. The big problem, and I love Stephen Fry so this hurts, is that the 'humour' is terrible. It is painful and embarrassing to the point of not wanting to read it. So poor and such a shame. If you wish to have an introduction to classical music then by all means go ahead and read this, but don't expect to be amused by the puerile comedic efforts.
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