The Way We Listen Now and Other Writings on Music

The Way We Listen Now and Other Writings on Music

Bayan Northcott

Edited by Christopher Wintle, Kate Hopkins


Plumbago Books



Selection from the musical writing of Bayan Northcott, one of the foremost musical critics of our time.
Published in association with the Cosman Keller Art and Music Trust.

Over the last forty years Bayan Northcott has established himself as one of London's leading music critics, a figure much admired by Hans Keller (1919-85) whose ideas he frequently invokes. Moving easily between the classics and the moderns, and writing with exceptional acuity, he brings a vast knowledge to bear on every issue great or small. In these years, though, he has also developed as a composer; and it is the meeting point of critic and artist that this, his first selection of essays, celebrates. The first part deals mainly with musical questions, the second with music for words, the third with a gallery of composers, and the fourth with the various states of music. It is a book that will appeal to ordinary music lovers and connoisseurs alike.


224 pages
24x16.5 cm
Poetics of Music
Paperback, 9780955608735, May 2009
Hardback, 9780955608728, May 2009
Plumbago Books
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The prose is vivid and trenchant, the argument repeatedly softens the reader up for the brilliantly unexpected surprise...The greatest pleasure of this collection lies in its illuminating essays on things like bells and silence, on pulse, pace, and time, and on individual composers. INDEPENDENT (Michael Church)
One of those rarest of creatures - an insightful musicologist who writes with journalistic immediacy...(these pieces) time and time again serve to confirm him as the inheritor of the late Hans Keller's reputation for eloquence and cogency...this stimulating book will be of interest and value to anyone concerned with the how and why of the many ways in which we listen to classical music. CLASSICAL MUSIC (Editor's Choice)
First and foremost, one marvels at Northcott's wonderfully lucid prose which will communicate readily to both the general reader and the specialist...This collection, meticulously edited by Christopher Wintle...deserves a place on every self-respecting musician's bookshelf. BBC MUSIC
There are a small number whose writing satisfies the interests and tastes of specialist and generalist alike. Bayan Northcott ... belongs in (this) group. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Whether it's about minimalism or Wagner, he presents perceptive insights in superbly crisp prose. THE TIMES (Richard Morrison)

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