The musical human: A story of life on Earth
by Michael Spitzer, â¬ 30
How does music fit into human development? Michael Spitzer ambitiously aims to deliver a holistic response, from bone flutes to Beethoven, from whale songs to K-pop. Its embrace of science and philosophy makes it a vigorous, sometimes tendentious, always stimulating intellectual training.
Mozart: The reign of love
by Jan Swafford, Faber Â£ 30
It is undoubtedly time for a biography of a composer which returns to the essential. Jan Swafford’s 830-page account of the life and works of Mozart has no axes to grind or theories to promote. He’s thorough and level-headed, and puts the music center stage, which is surely where it should be.
Tell us what you think
What are your favorites from this list? And what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below
Lev’s violin: An Italian adventure
by Helena Attlee, Private books Â£ 20
The chance hearing of a violin playing klezmer in a small Welsh town sends Helena Attlee on a journey of discovery. Both mystery and love story (for the darling violin), the book traces its way to the cultural centers of Italy and finally, as modern-day Agatha Christie, to Russia in search of its creator.
Summer books 2021
All week FT writers and critics are sharing their favorite reads of the year so far. Some highlights are:
Monday: Undertaken by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Story by Tony Barber
Thursday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Friday: Laura Battle Fiction
Saturday: Critics’ Choice
Join our online reading group on Facebook at FT Books Coffee