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Raising the Roof

"A fascinating guide to classical music from one of the UK’s youngest and most successful composers."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

June 2024 Non-Fiction Book of the Month

Composer and radio presenter Jack Pepper takes us on an exciting and informative journey into the world of Western classical music, from the early Middle Ages to today. Starting with what he terms the “ingredients of sounds” giving brief explanations of key terms such as pitch, melody and register. He then moves onto different types of classical music and the terms used to describe them, such as symphonies, concertos, operas, and choral – explaining exactly what they are and giving key examples of them in action. As a non-musician I found these explanations incredibly interesting and easy-to-understand, I will feel much more confident talking about music in future.

From there we enjoy double-page spread biographies of famous and not-so-famous composers, from Hildegard of Bingen to Gerschwin, by way of Mozart and Bach. As well as providing insights into musical history, these biographies also provide glimpses into private lives and historical times, whether that be links to Suffragettes or mysterious deaths - encouraging readers to use this book as a starting point to further musical explorations.

My favourite part was that throughout the book we are treated to a comprehensive suggested playlist that provides readers with an overview of Western classical music over the centuries. Alongside some of these suggestions are listening tips that make the listening even more powerful and interesting, it is like having a knowledgeable friend whispering in your ear as you enjoy.

Every page is highly illustrated, making this a real treat for the senses. Readers should beware though - from the outside this may look like a typical, if beautifully produced, children's non-fiction book but in fact, in the very best way, this is a book that will take up an immense amount of time. It offers a wealth of information that is laid out beautifully, making it a treat to dip into, but also opens up a world of music to explore and delight in discovering.

You can watch our exclusive event with Jack Pepper here:


Amy McKay

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