Tim Blanning - The Triumph of Music (3 stars)

Tim Blanning - The Triumph of Music

(Allen Lane)

MUSIC HISTORY

Make no bones about it, The Triumph of Music is a heavy read, but it’s also a hugely fascinating one. Penned by Tim Blanning – a Professor of Modern European History at Cambridge – this book has the academic turning his attention to music as he explores composers, musicians and their audiences from 1700 to the present day. From Mozart to Brian May and Beethoven to Beyonce, a whole range of genres are explored here as Blanning reveals some thought-provoking theories and intriguing studies into social, cultural and political history in reference to music through the ages.

Thankfully it is choc-full of tangible examples, humorous anecdotes and the exploits of legends past and present, with the chapter on ‘Liberation’ proving a highlight and saving the offering from a tendency to stray into overly dry territory. Not one to dip in and out of over the Christmas hols, though; you’ll need your total concentration to fully appreciate this thoroughly intellectual tome.

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