Classical music can be a divisive genre--some people love it, others dislike it, still more are intimidated by it. But no matter what one's relationship to classical might be, this meditation on the genre by esteemed conductor John Mauceri (Maestros and Their Music) is sure to give all readers a new, or deeper, insight into what they are listening to when they listen to a piece of music.
Despite the title, For the Love of Music isn't really a how-to, and instead peels back the decades and the histories and the dialogues entered into when a piece of classical music is heard. Mauceri invites listening as an active process, one that questions what we are hearing, what we are feeling, what is evoked in us. For him, a journey through classical music is a journey through narratives encoded in an invisible art form, one that will always be up to the listener to interpret. He takes a historical view of the genre and wraps it in his experiences as both a fan and a performer, always emphasizing the symbolic mode of storytelling at the heart of the notes and its ability to induce a sense of wonder. For the Love of Music returns to the idea of music as a compendium of memory, tied to nostalgia, to personal experience and, overall, to the pleasure one might find in the endless variation of how it might be listened to yet again. --Michelle Anya Anjirbag, freelance reviewer