Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Book Review

Score Reading - A Key to the Music Experience
By Michael Dickreiter (Translated by Reinhard G. Pauly)
Amadeus Press; Paperback; 264 pages $19:95. ISBN 1-57467-056-5
AmazonUK  £16.99  AmazonUS  $15.96

If you are just a music lover and not a practising musician, does it really matter if you cannot read a score? Would it really add anything to your enjoyment if you could? Well, yes it could, as this useful and straightforwardly written book proves. Although it is a practical necessity for professional and amateur musicians and conductors to be able to read scores fluently, listeners can derive a great deal of pleasure and insight into the design and construction of a musical work by following its score. One can appreciate, for instance, more fully the use of specific instruments, and the relationships between primary and secondary musical lines and voices.

Dickreiter takes the reader through different types of scores (orchestral, choral chamber, recital etc); looks at their make-up - the arrangements of the instruments on the score page and its organisation. The historical development of musical notation and scores through the Renaissance and Baroque, and the Classical and Romantic periods is traced. Then comes the practical guidance on how to approach reading a score from scratch.

The biggest asset of this book, though, is that the greater part of it comprises scores of movements or parts of basic repertory works that most people will have in their record collections. So you can practice your score reading by following 10 examples including: the aria 'Erbame dich, mein Gott' ('Have mercy, O Lord') from Bach's St Matthew Passion, Beethoven's Romance in F Major for Violin and Orchestra, Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Chopin's Minute Waltz Schubert's 'Trout' Quintet; Wagner's Prelude to Tristan and Isolde and Stravinsky's The Firebird.

This is a very interesting and useful book - one that this reviewer will be continually dipping into. Ian Lace

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