Book Reviews

Here you’ll find reviews of books about music that I’ve read, and think are worth your time. Like the ‘Recommended Reading’ portion of the webpage, it will not deal strictly with Disney music, but address books about music in general.

Declassified: A Low-Key Guide to the High-Strung World of Classical Music
by Arianna Warsaw-Fan Rauch

Part guide and part memoir, author Ariana Warsaw-Fan Rauch sets out to demystify classical music for wary listeners by explaining some of its nuances, while also providing an insider’s look at what it is like to be a classical musician. With a light and slightly wry tone, she alternates between telling the story of her own personal journey as a musician and providing a sort of beginners guide to the somewhat foreboding world of classical music (which, as she explains, is not really a genre at all, but a sort of catch-all term that covers centuries of music written in a wide variety of styles). 

Rauch has a clear love for the subject matter that comes across on every page, and her sense of humor keeps the book from ever becoming dull. There were numerous times during the reading of the book that I found myself laughing out loud or grabbing my wife and making her listen to passages. 

Her portions discussing the various periods of classical music, as well as the recommended listening section, and the “How to Listen” segments are enlightening and are expressed in a way that is easy to understand, and her passion is infectious. If any critique could be aimed at the book, it’s that its subtitle and description may lead a reader to be surprised at the number of autobiographical asides contained within. These portions do less to help a reader understand classical music than they do to give an idea of what it’s like to be a classical music performer. However, they’re written so engagingly that it’s hardly a critique at all. 

Four out of Five Stars – Highly Recommended