Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day – review – The Guardian

This magnificent treasury of classical music selects a song for each day of the year – beginning with Bach, closing with Strauss and resounding with an array of favourites and hidden gems. It spans a thousand years and innumerable emotional textures. Believing that classical music should be accessible to all, the author shows how it can be “a powerful mental tonic”, enhancing our lives. “We are a music-making species” she writes, exploring how people have used music to connect with one another. Alongside profound insights, she is adept, too, at the pithy summary (“Philip Glass is musical Marmite”).

Both entertaining and educative, each entry contextualises the song, making for a fascinating tour de force, elucidating the factors that shape music and how music can shape us.

• Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day by Clemency Burton-Hill is published by Headline Home (£20). To order a copy for £17 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

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