The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, BeethovenCharles Rosen
National Book Award for Arts and Letters (1972).
The Classical Style was recommended to me by my mentor during my undergraduate years. Although much of it was incomprehensible to me at the time, it offered something that our music history textbooks didn't: it actually talked about music! This unique approach may be attributed to the fact that the author was a distinguished concert pianist whose formal education did not include musicology. Rosen exposes the structure of the masterworks of the Classical period without dissecting and thereby killing them. His prose allows the reader to begin to hear them as a more experienced musician would and left me with the guiding belief that the experience of music should remain central to our writing about works of music.