“Year of Wonder is an absolute treat—the most enlightening way to be guided through the year.” — Eddie Redmayne
A unique celebration of classical music that showcases one inspirational piece each day of the year, written by an award-winning violinist and BBC Radio personality
Classical music has a reputation for being stuffy, boring, and largely inaccessible, but Burton-Hill is here to change that. An award-winning writer, broadcaster and musician, with a deep love of the art form she wants everyone to feel welcome at the classical party, and her desire to share her passion for its diverse wonders inspired this unique, enlightening, and expertly curated treasury. As she says, “The only requirements for enjoying classical music are open ears and an open mind.”
Year of Wonder introduces readers to one piece of music each day of the year, artfully selected from across genres, time periods, and composers. Burton-Hill offers short introductions to contextualize each piece, and makes the music come alive in modern and playful ways. From Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Puccini to George Gershwin, Clara Schumann, Philip Glass, Duke Ellington, and many remarkable yet often-overlooked voices, Burton-Hill takes us on a dazzling journey through our most treasured musical landscape.
Thoughtfully curated and masterfully researched, Year of Wonder is a book of classical music for everyone. Whether you’re a newcomer or an aficionado, Burton-Hill’s celebration will inspire, nourish, and enrich your life in unexpected ways.
BBC radio host Burton-Hill (The Other Side of the Stars) is an evangelist for classical music, arguing that it enriches peoples' lives, and she's devised this welcoming day-by-day listening guide for readers new to the form. For each day of the year, she suggests one short piece no longer than seven minutes and provides brief reflections it that describe the historical and social context of the music and the artist who composed it. The selections illustrate the stunning variety of classical music, ranging from familiar works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart to less familiar works by Delhi-born Param Vir and Hildegard of Bingen, whose "O virtus sapientiae," Burton-Hill notes, "was written nearly a thousand years ago, by a very busy nun." She introduces listeners to Symphony in G Major by Joseph Boulange, the 18th-century artist generally regarded as the first classical composer of African ancestry and often called the black Mozart. She recommends 19th-century composer Vincenzo Bellini's "Casta Diva" from the opera Norma because it is a bel canto classic with graceful, flowing curves in the music. Burton-Hill's delightful and informative guide provides a daily dose of the beauty of classical music and also an enticing introduction to it.