The Robert Shaw Reader


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Edited by Robert Blocker; Introduction by Tim Page

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $85.00
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Robert Shaw is considered to be the most influential choral conductor in American history. This is the first collection of his letters and notes about music ever published—at another time, it is the book Shaw would have written himself.
The letters are an invigorating mix of music history and analysis, philosophy, inspiration, and practical advice. Shaw examines technique, but only as a means to an end—he moves beyond that, delving into the essence of what music is and what it has to say to us. The heart of the book is composed of Shaw’s previously unpublished notes on fifteen major choral works, ranging from Bach’s B Minor Mass to Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms.
Often inspiring and sometime hilarious, these writings reveal the full breadth of Shaw’s knowledge, intensity, and humor.

Robert Blocker is the Lucy and Henry Moses Dean of the Yale School of Music.

“A significant book—making available in print the musical insights of arguably the preeminent choral conductor America has produced."—Milburn Price, former president of the American Choral Directors Association

"The Robert Shaw Reader is a wonderful collection of the beliefs, the frustrations, the celebrations, the analyses and philosophies of this great figure of American choral music. His profound thoughts provide a unique exploration into a brilliant yet complex musical mind. In circumstances where most choral conductors will try to convey so much through non-verbal communication, Robert Shaw was a master of the written word."—Paul Salamunovich, Music Director Emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale   

"I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know and revere Robert Shaw. The best of 20th century choral musicianship was to be found in him, and I am delighted that he now lives again in these pages for a new generation to discover and enjoy."—Peter J. Gomes, Harvard University

“What a delight it has been to read this book. Time and again I have marveled at the wit and wisdom so economically and charmingly expressed. It is a magnificent teaching aid.”—Robin A. Leaver, Professor of Sacred Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and the Juilliard School (also President of the American Bach Society) 

"Within these covers you will find high solemnity—and even higher aspirations—set cheek by jowl with endearingly awful jokes and Shaw’s own inimitable brand of doggerel verse. . . ’Who touches this touches a man,’ Walt Whitman once observed of his own Leaves of Grass. Much the same may be said for The Robert Shaw Reader.”—Tim Page, from the Introduction 

“Every choral singer and conductor in America . . . should want a copy of this book. . . . [Shaw’s] writings here are wise, humorous, witty, corny, profound and exasperating. . . . The bulk of the writings are those legendary choral letters, ideas and exercises and precise explanations the conductor would dash off after a choir rehearsal. . . . Taken together, they’re a textbook on how to sing choral music, from beginner to most sophisticated, written by the foremost practitioner in the field, in crisp, passionate, uncompromising language. . . . It’s a pleasure—intellectual, spiritual, artistic—to read the Gospel According to Robert Shaw.”—Pierre Ruhe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"I was thrilled to come across The Robert Shaw Reader. . . . The full humanity, spirituality, and ribald humor of Shaw is laid bare."—Kelsey Menehan, The Voice of Chorus America

ISBN: 9780300104547
Publication Date: October 11, 2004
480 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
13 b/w illus. + 50 musical examples