The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period-key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events-influenced and directed compositional choices.
Richard Taruskin is professor of musicology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to this work, Taruskin is also the author of such books as Music in the Western World: A History in Documents (1985), Text & Act (OUP, 1995), and Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (1996). He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, New Republic, and many other scholarly journals.