Pick up where Classic FM leaves off

What does classical music mean to the Western World? How has it transformed over the centuries? With such a rich tradition, what relevance does it have today? Julian Johnson inspires readers to explore the field, and examines how music is related to some of the big ideas of Western experience including spirituality, emotion, the weight of history, and self identity.


"Johnson combines boundless enthusiasm for the subject with extensive knowledge and manages to convey a decent quantity of the latter in economical and effortless fashion."

"Johnson offers an entirely fresh and highly engaging perspective on how classical music developed from plainsong to the present day. He wears his learning lightly, relating each stage of his story to other events in western culture while simultaneously inspiring the curious to investigate further and listen to the great works he refers to."

"Johnson answers the big questions."