Best single volume guide to classical music

For a Valentine’s Day present.  Preferably fun to read.  Doesn’t need to get deep into minuscia. At this point in our evolution, I could imagine one with QR codes to take the reader to great performances of pieces.  Or a downloadable supplement!  But I doubt that exists.  Anyhow - thanks in advance. 


For a survey that is about composers and their works, and not about recordings, I would recommend "A History of Western Music" by Burkholder.  Another classic is "The Lives of the Great Composers" by Schonberg.

The ultimate book source of information on music is the New Groves Dictionary of Music it is a fairly large encyclopedia with topics arranged alphabetically.   Even very old sets are north of $500 and it does take up a lot of room.  It is fun to browse if you have an interest in music, but, it is primarily a tool for very serious students.

I did some checking on “Year of Wonder” playlists and they are available on Spotify and Apple Classical Music. Can’t locate on Qobuz or Tidal…perhaps a labor of love opportunity for you to create a Qobuz version.

I recently helped an elderly friend dispose of their CD collection. The one classical CD that caught my eye was called: "Classics at the Movies." It's a 4 CD set that featured classical music used in 40 different movies, including: 2001, A Space Odyssey; Apocalypse Now; The Last Emperor; Fantasia; The Godfather III; Out of Africa; A Clockwork Orange & Amadeus. It was released on the "Classical Heritage" label; so, there should be some familiarity with many of the chosen selections.