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My question is, has anyone read Thomas Tapper’s composer biographies? I know SCM recommends Opal Wheeler’s, but so far I have only been able to find one secondhand (rarely buy new) and the Tapper ones are free for Kindle. He seems to have been a contemporary or older than Wheeler. Are his books worth the read or are they old twaddle?
We’ve used them a few times. They include pictures of interesting things in the composer’s lives, like where they lived, their music, instruments, etc. I didn’t think that there is anything wrong with them.
I use The Great Composers now for most of my Music Study biographies. I have edited a couple for personal choices that my children don’t need to focus on, but I love the full page, full color portraits and the lists of their most influential music.
Also, I really like the musician biography books by Anna Harwell Celenza – they even come with a CD of the piece of music the story is about.KarenParticipant
I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I can barely stand to read Wheeler’s books out loud…..in fact, in recent years, I haven’t used them at all. My daughters love them, but the sentence structure and the occasional use of present tense (where I think it’s inappropriate) annoy me. To me, the sentences just don’t seem to flow, and it seems sort of forced.
So, I’ve used Kathleen (? Kathryn?) Krull’s book on the musicians. (Edited, b/c she sometimes tells more than I want my children to know just now.) I’ve also had some luck finding other books at the library that worked out fine.
Maurice Hinson has some books that have crossword puzzles or other puzzles along with a short synopsis of the composer’s life, and a CD to listen to.
I also like the Celenza books.
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