Reviews

Book Review: Twelve Magical Musical Masters

7_0240c“Twelve Magical Musical Masters” is a book containing the stories of twelve well-known classical composers.  Each page features an illustration and a short bio that encourages the reader to press a button to hear the accompanying music.

I received a copy of this book for review and am happy to add it to my bookshelf in my living room/waiting room area for students to peruse.

The twelve composers included are:

  • Vivaldi
  • J.S. Bach
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven
  • Mendelssohn
  • Brahms
  • Grieg
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Bizet
  • Rossini
  • Strauss
  • Khachaturian

The biographies are brief but complete.  Each one contains the obligatory information about the composer’s birth year and home country, and also includes a few fun facts or anecdotes about the composer’s life and describes what types of compositions the composer was known for.  The simple language used makes this book appropriate for children.

The book is visually attractive with lovely graphics and full-page illustrations.

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On the side of this book, there is a mounted box with a speaker and a number of colorful buttons.  On each page, there is a symbol printed that corresponds to one of the buttons so that the reader can listen to music by the composer as they read.  The musical examples were well-chosen representative works by the composers.  As a side note, some of the examples are arrangements/transcriptions — for example, the Bach Minuet in G example is arranged from its original form and is played by celeste and flute.  The excerpts are brief enough that they will last just about as long as it takes to read the composer’s biography.

The quality of sound from the small speaker is what you would expect.  The music is certainly recognizable, though, and what is lost in sound quality is made up for by convenience that allows the student to explore and hear music without the help of an adult.  If I were to use this book during a group class, I would prepare recordings on CD or YouTube in advance to be able to hear the examples through a better speaker.

This book is a great tool for children to learn more about the lives of well-known classical composers.  You can find more information about purchasing this book here.

Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary copy of this book for review.  

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Twelve Magical Musical Masters”

  1. It is sounds like a nice book! I am so glad to see A. Khachaturian’s biography is there too. Three weeks ago we had a Classical Concert here, in South Korea.
    Musicians- Solo Pianist, and Duo – Cello and Piano from Armenia performed works of A. Kachaturian -the concert was dedicated to his 110 anniversary.

  2. Thanks for this post. My 6 year old niece has just begun taking piano lessons and this seems like the perfect fit for her. I’m going to look into purchasing a copy for Christmas.

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