Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Associate professor of music Rob Haskins has been a critic for "The American Record Guide" since 1993. In his newest book, "Classical Listening: Two Decades of Reviews from 'The American Record Guide,'" he collects hundreds of his reviews for the Guide into one volume. "Classical Listening" provides record collectors, students and scholars, and the general public a resource for understanding the trajectory of classical music recordings over the last two decades. 

Haskins, both musicologist and performer, is the author of "John Cage" (2012). He has recorded two CDs for Mode Records, John Cage’s "Two2" with pianist Laurel Karlik Sheehan and Marc Chan’s "My Wounded Head 3."

Classical Listening: Two Decades of Reviews from "The American Record Guide"

by Rob Haskins
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 5, 2015)

The classical record business gained a new lease on life in the 1980s when period instrument performances of baroque and classical music began to assume a place on the stage. This return to the past found its complement in the musical ascension of the American minimalists, in particular the music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams, and smaller specialty labels that focused on experimental composers like John Cage. During this period of change — of classical music's transition of looking both forward and back — Rob Haskins served as a reviewer for "The American Record Guide," tracing these evolutions while also attending to works emerging from within the mainstream of classical music performance and composition.

"Classical Listening: Two Decades of Reviews from 'The American Record Guide'" collects the several hundred reviews produced since Haskins's start in the mid-1990s. A performer and musicologist, Haskins writes delightful, cogent reviews that unapologetically reflect his personal experience, musical interests and professional background, emphasizing the value of subjectivity in music criticism. Witty, provocative and eloquent, Haskins's book reads like a diary of personal experience even as it addresses important topics as diverse as historical performance practice and the aesthetics of contemporary music. It is also a perfect guide to buying or listening for the classical music devotee seeking an informed opinion on the breadth of remarkable recordings available.

Available from the publisher and major online retailers.