A Listener's Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music

Robert R. Reilly with Jens F. Laurson
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As the reader shall see, it is the spirit of music that has concerned us most. In our efforts to discern it, we have discovered many treasures. The purpose of this book is to share them, to entice you to listen – because beauty is contagious. In his book, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, English conductor John Eliot Gardiner writes that experiencing Bach’s masterpieces “is a way of fully realizing the scale and scope of what it is to be human”. The reader may be surprised by how many works of the twentieth century and our own time of which this is also true. We try to describe them as best we can, acknowledging the while the truth of what Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe (ca. 1640–1700) purportedly said: “Music exists to say things that words cannot”.


A small sample of the beautiful music written by composers discussed in Surprised By Beauty. Browse this curated playlist:

Listen to a sample