Robert Shaw is considered to be the most influential choral conductor in American history. This is the first collection of his letters and notes about music ever published—at another time, it is the book Shaw would have written himself.
The letters are an invigorating mix of music history and analysis, philosophy, inspiration, and practical advice. Shaw examines technique, but only as a means to an end—he moves beyond that, delving into the essence of what music is and what it has to say to us. The heart of the book is composed of Shaw’s previously unpublished notes on fifteen major choral works, ranging from Bach’s B Minor Mass to Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms.
Often inspiring and sometime hilarious, these writings reveal the full breadth of Shaw’s knowledge, intensity, and humor.
"I can't remember a time when I didn't know and revere Robert Shaw. The best of 20th century choral musicianship was to be found in him, and I am delighted that he now lives again in these pages for a new generation to discover and enjoy."—Peter J. Gomes, Harvard University
“A significant book—making available in print the musical insights of arguably the preeminent choral conductor America has produced."—Milburn Price, former president of the American Choral Directors Association