Saturday 29 January 2022

Guest Review: The Classical Music Map of Britain By Richard Fawkes

The Classical Music Map of Britain is a charming and fascinating journey around the UK from a classical music perspective. Extensively researched and beautifully written, every entry explains why each place was so special to the composer in question, which pieces were composed there, and whether it's currently open to the public. The Classical Music Map of Britain is an enchanting adventure around some of our lesser-known landmarks - perfect for any lover of history or classical music, or those keen to discover a bit more about how music has shaped our country.

Review: This book is a compilation of various locations in which famous classical music composers and performers have lived, stayed or performed in the United Kingdom. It is divided into the the different countries of the UK, namely England (with a separate section covering London), Wales, Scotland and, since it was part of the UK until the 1920s, Ireland.

The author has selected the locations on the basis of their having a significant impact on the musician’s life or output. Also, those still living at the time of the book’s compilation are not included in order to safeguard their privacy. The result is a detailed guide to various locations associated with composers and performers. It is not just British musicians that are covered, but also ones from overseas, such as Mozart and Mendelssohn, who undertook visits to and concert tours of the UK. There is a map at the beginning of each section showing the various locations, and the text gives details about whether or not a particular place is open to the public.

I found the book to be interesting inasmuch that it described many musicians with whom I was not familiar. However, it did feel more like a gazetteer of the British Isles. I feel that the inclusion of an index at the end of the book would have been helpful, allowing all the locations associated with a particular musician to be referenced. In addition, I found that the maps were too small and difficult to read, which rather defeated their objective. As a niche book, it would be of appeal to classical music lovers.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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