On Music: Essays and Diversions, 1963-2003

By Maddocks, Fiona | The Spectator, December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

On Music: Essays and Diversions, 1963-2003


Maddocks, Fiona, The Spectator


How to shut up and listen ON MUSIC: ESSAYS AND DIVERSIONS, 1963-2003 by Robin Holloway Claridge Press, Sunday Hill Farm, Brinkworth, Wilts SN 15 5 AS, Tel: 01666510327, £30, pp. 438, ISBN 1870626745

Stuck for the bumper Christmas gift? Try Robin Holloway's collected essays of music criticism. It is impressively big and will take about five years to read if you listen to the music discussed at the same time. Since that includes most of Wagner and Strauss and plenty of Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler, you will have little time left over to indulge in snooker or bridge. No thanks, you smirk. A brick would do better as a door-stop. That was certainly the attitude of at least two major publishing houses, including Faber, when they turned the manuscript down.

Fools. They should have known-better. This outstanding book, gathered to mark-Holloway's 60th birthday, is one of the most invigorating, elegantly written and passionate of its kind. Spurned and left homeless by the grandees, it has been taken in by a tiny independent publisher, Claridge Press, and dressed in a dry, sober jacket which gives little hint as to the trenchant and outrageous opinions contained within. Any curious music fan, except those whose taste ends c. 1700, which is about where Holloway's starts, can expect to have their ears briskly scoured by this caustic volume.

The rewards are immense. The tone is lively and if, as sometimes happens, the level of technical analysis goes over your head, you can fast forward. Each page is a fruit cake of concentrated thought steeped in years of incisive listening, occasionally heavy, always rich, sometimes nutty. I haven't enjoyed a book on music so much since a pivotal study on Debussy and Wagner - about whom enough, you would think, had been said - two decades ago. (Its author? Robin Holloway.)

Best known as a composer of lyrical orchestral and chamber works, Holloway has been a monthly contributor to this magazine since 1988. His Spectator columns form the backbone of this collection and gain immeasurably by being placed in context with more extended writings, acting both as light relief and contemporary commentary on a rapidly changing music scene. Not that much reprieve is needed. Holloway writes with wit and colour and has a penchant for inventing words. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

On Music: Essays and Diversions, 1963-2003
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.