Excerpts from Weiss/Taruskin, Music in the Western World: A History in Documents, Second Edition. Thomson Shirmer, 2008.
This book contains primary source documents — letters, diary entries, and accounts describing musical experiences first-hand. Some entries come from the composers themselves, while others are from audience members, performers, noblemen, or critics.
Some excerpts may more difficult to read because they are written in an older style that was more common in the 18th or 19th centuries (longer sentences, using words that we rarely use today, using more allusive rather than direct prose). I recommend reading assignments from our textbook before reading these so that you have a little more background information that will allow you to contextualize these passages more easily.