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“Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music” by Robert R. Reilly is an absolute gem. Please do not pass this incredible resource by! With the advent of “Pandora”, “Spotify” and other streaming music services, as well as the tremendous musical catalog offered by the reasonably priced “Naxos” record label, there is no longer any excuse for us not to have the sound and feel of beauty surrounding us today. During our conversation, Robert will say “If your soul is hungry for beauty , open your ears and feed”. This book will offer you a menu to choose from like no other! Filled with gems of not only great works of 20th and 21st century music, but this book reveals to us poignant and compelling stories of inspired composers whose hearts broke free of the normative ugliness which dominated their craft for far too long. Some of those artists never experienced in their lifetime a popular acceptance of their work, but because in part of this book, their legacy can surprise us by their gift of beauty today.
You can find the book here
From the book description:
The single greatest crisis of the 20th century was the loss of faith. Noise–and its acceptance as music–was the product of the resulting spiritual confusion and, in its turn, became the further cause of its spread. Likewise, the recovery of modern music, the theme to which this book is dedicated, stems from a spiritual recovery. This is made explicitly clear by the composers whose interviews with the author are collected in this book.
Robert Reilly spells out the nature of the crisis and its solution in sections that serve as bookends to the chapters on individual composers. He does not contend that all of these composers underwent and recovered from the central crisis he describes, but they all lived and worked within its broader context, and soldiered on, writing beautiful music. For this, they suffered ridicule and neglect, and he believes their rehabilitation will change the reputation of modern music.