In between Simone de Beauvoir and William Faulkner, I read Stephen Fry’s Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music as told to Tim Lihorean. The book served my purpose, which was to provide a contextual structure for the major composers, who influenced who, etc. The content was exceptional, but the tone of the book I found excruciating. It depends on whether you enjoy Stephen Fry’s schtick. I don’t.
The subject continues to fascinate me, and like the dangers of shandy or marijuana, Stephen Fry lead to harder stuff, in the form of the wonderful The Oxford History of Western Music by controversial musicologist Richard Taruskin.