My book — Rebirth: The Future of Classical Music. For a while I unfolded it bit by bit online, posting drafts, or improvisations, or riffs on what the book might say. My idea was to promote the book, and to spread the ideas in it around. To get reactions to the ideas, and to how I put them. This was invaluable, but I was never quite happy with how the book unfurled. It seemed more like something improvised, than something planned, with structure and a goal.

So now I’m rewriting. Look for the first chapter soon. I’m hoping to help build a community for classical music change, and I hope the book can be part of that.

Click “more” to see some of my old riffs/improvisations/drafts. There’s a lot of good stuff there.

Contact me with comments!

And you can subscribe to my book updates. You’ll get whatever’s new in the book directly by email. There’s no obligation, the list is completely private, and you can opt out at any time. Just email me with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

The book so far::

Outline of the book. Brief but thorough. Newly revised, and subject to ongoing changes.

Riffs on the content:

Part I — The Crisis

Chapter one:

A riff on chapter one.

“Rebirth and Resistance.” What the first chapter of the book is likely to say. Fairly long. Brings together, in revised form, the four riffs on chapter one that I put on my blog. (See below.)

Riff on chapter one — shorter.

For those who want a shorter read. Many details, subtleties missing. But also some small revisions, maybe making a few things clearer.

Chapter two:

Riff on chapter two, “Dire Data,” in which I document the quantifiable part of the classical music crisis.

shorter version

Chapter three:

Riff on chapter three, “The Culture Ran Away From Us”:

first part

second part


Part 2: The Nature of Classical Music

Chapter four:

Riff on chapter four, “What Classical Music Is”

Chapter five:

Riff on chapter five, part one: “The Myth of Classical Music Superiority.”

(the second part of this riff is coming soon)

Chapter six:

“World Gone Wrong”:Problems that classical music has, even if we take the classical music world on its own terms. (riff forthcoming)

I’m going to need much better chapter titles! The only one I love is the one for chapter six, taken from a Bob Dylan song.

For the old versions of the book — my two previous unfoldings of what I thought the book would be — go here. They’re thoroughly superseded now, but they’re lively, and full of good insights.

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  1. says


    This is truly daring and intriguing to me, since I’m also thinking about how to distribute a work of fiction. (But I don’t think I want the same form of feedback that you do in a non-fiction book).

    Here’s the thing –and maybe I missed it if you’ve thought of this already — you _write_ and _talk_ about music…but that’s the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon itself. Do you have an idea for a book that’s comprised of text with actual musical interludes? Inserting digital files into the text? That’s what’s on my mind as I think of working with the non-HD footage I have and exploring what spoke to me out of my past and my upbringing, about the UFO phenomenon, I need words, interior monologues, musings, philosophy, science — much best expressed in prose. But the emotional content — thats where I want my archival photos, my sound recordings and my videotape as an insider to a subculture that drew me. Is there a format for that? Would that interest you for your book on the transformation of music?

    Hi, Carol. Good question. Thing is, you’d be using your own materials, which you own. No reason you can’t put them in the book. Publishers — who are aching to enhance ebooks with sound and video — would love you.

    For a book on classical music, a big problem arises. I don’t own the rights to recordings I might like to use. And to license those recordings would be wildly expensive. As well as cumbersome. I’d be facing the same thing writers face when they put photos in a nonfiction book — separate negotiations with every rights-holder involved.

  2. Jamie says

    As long as you keep the clips short (30 secs) is a general rule of thumb, you can actually use audio or video under fair use guidelines. I’d also imagine that a lot of the music you would be reference is in the public domain.

  3. daryl sprake says

    dear mr Sandow l love your writings on classic music l fully agree with you,l hope your ideas can reach as many people as possable.l would like your permission to post some of your writing on my up coming web site ONE Daryl Sprake composer. com .l will put a link to your web site and blog, good luck ,in your efforts in trying to revitalze classical music.daryl sprake

  4. alison gregson says

    lovely to meet you at LSO St Luke’s last night.

    You are clearly a “mover and shaker” in the music world.

    Too many people accept the old values…new ideas have to be performed and enjoyed…that is the future!

    Otherwise, we’d all be living in caves.

    Alison G