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Reviewed by:
  • Daniels’ Orchestral Music by David Daniels
  • Joseph Boonin
Daniels’ Orchestral Music. By David Daniels. 5th ed. (Music Finders.)
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. [xviii, 883 p. ISBN 9781442245372. $85.] Bibliography.

It has been forty-three years since David Daniels first published Orchestral Music: A Source Book (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1972). It is also a full decade since the appearance of the fourth edition (Orchestral Music: A Handbook [Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005]). With the appearance of this, the fifth edition, several milestones must be noted.

First, either Daniels or his publisher has chosen to rename the work. It is now Daniels’ Orchestral Music. This puts David Daniels in an illustrious group of eponymous lexicographers along with Sir George Grove, Theodore Baker, and Hugo Riemann. It is the opinion of this reviewer—who also had the privilege of reviewing the fourth edition (Notes 62, no.4 [June 2006]: 949–50)—that this title change merely institutionalizes a fact that has been in evidence for almost the entire life of “Daniels.” The orchestra world has come to rely increasingly on Daniels and his ever-growing corpus of orchestral data. Since Daniels has [End Page 768] announced in an e-mail post that this will be his last edition as editor, the name change is not only appropriate, but one can only applaud Rowman & Littlefield for adopting it. In the same post to the orchestra electronic mailing list, (accessed 8 January 2016), Daniels informed us, “...but fear not! The work will be continued by my friend, David Alexander Rahbee, who has been sending me corrections and additions for probably two decades.”

The fifth edition continues, in all respects, the improvements and expansions of the previous four editions. The present reviewer is pleased to note that several small shortcomings of the fourth edition pointed out in the above-cited review have been dealt with in a most satisfactory manner. However, the vast number of entries boggles the mind and precludes the possibility of searching out errata or lacunae. In a work of this tremendous breadth of coverage, attempting, as it does, to be all-inclusive, it is reasonable to assume that errata and lacunae will be found. One trusts that David Rahbee—David II in this context—will be as assiduous as Daniels in incorporating this information into some future edition.

Overall, a great improvement has been made in the appearance of individual entries. The judicious use of various font sizes, bold-faced text, and the highlighting of the publisher(s)/source(s) with gray shading goes a long way toward reducing the user’s eyestrain. Also, for multimovement works, each movement’s individual tempo and/or descriptive title is included along with the timings. Timings had heretofore been listed on a single line. The vast number of works listed in “Daniels 5” precludes the reviewer from stating that this improvement is universally applied but every title checked did have this feature—even including blank space indications for works in which the individual minutes could not be determined. This feature alone makes Daniels 5 a reference work that reaches far beyond the desks of orchestra librarians, program planners, and orchestral administrators.

In the decade since the appearance of the fourth edition, the book has expanded from 618 to 883 pages. The present volume maintains the larger page size of the fourth edition and the use of a thinner paper stock provides a volume that, while quite thick, is still manageable.

The main body of the book remains the alphabetical listing by composer. This, alone, covers almost six hundred pages. For each entry, we find composer, title, date(s) of composition and revision, complete instrumentation (including very clear information on doubling and percussion requirements), timing, and source. Again, one must take the timings with more than a grain of salt. Quoting from the aforementioned review of the fourth edition, “The only accurate timings of orchestral music are those taken of actual performances or, in our own time, specific recordings.” However, the user of this volume will no doubt benefit from the knowledge that a completely unfamiliar work is seven, seventeen, or seventy minutes in duration...


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