By Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton's e-book engagingly and lucidly dissects the oft-invoked fable of an outstanding culture, or Golden Age of Pianism. it's written either for gamers and for individuals in their audiences via a pianist who believes that scholarship and clarity can cross hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous but full of life element the performance-style of serious pianists from Liszt to Paderewski, and delves into the far-from-inevitable improvement of the piano recital. He entertainingly recounts how classical live shows developed from exuberant, occasionally riotous occasions into the formal, funereal trotting out of predictable items they are often this day, how a frequently unhistorical "respect for the ranking" started to substitute pianists' improvisations and variations, and the way the medical customized arose that an viewers could be noticeable and never heard. Pianists will locate foodstuff for concept right here on their repertoire and the traditions of its functionality. Hamilton chronicles why pianists of the prior didn't continually commence a section with the 1st observe of the rating, nor finish with the final. He emphasizes that anxiousness over mistaken notes is a comparatively fresh psychosis, and taking part in solely from reminiscence a comparatively fresh requirement. Audiences will come upon a shiny account of the way significantly diversified are the recitals they attend in comparison to live shows of the previous, and the way their very own position has decreased from noisily lively contributors within the live performance event to passive recipients of inventive benediction from the level. they are going to realize whilst cowed listeners ultimately stopped applauding among activities, and why they stopped conversing loudly in the course of them. The book's large message announces that there's not anything divinely ordained approximately our personal concert-practices, programming and piano-performance types. Many features of the trendy process are unhistorical-some laudable, a few in simple terms ludicrous. also they are a long way faraway from these fondly, if deceptively, remembered as constituting a Golden Age.
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Additional info for After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance
Similar comments are found in the reminiscences of, for example, Stradal, 159. Stradal also mentions that even Anton Rubinstein’s cyclopean playing style was largely centered on ﬁnger and wrist action—as, again, one might expect given the types of pianos he used in his early-middle years. , The Liszt Studies [New York: Associated Music Publishers, 1973], xvii), though he must surely have adapted it when necessary to the demands of later, heavier instruments. : Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), virtually passim.
The Liszt Studies [New York: Associated Music Publishers, 1973], xvii), though he must surely have adapted it when necessary to the demands of later, heavier instruments. : Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), virtually passim. Despite Ott’s impressively thorough research, it seems to me that he stretches his argument a little too far in the detail he claims to be able to recover about Liszt’s technical practices. One must not forget, too, that every player uses the arm muscles to some extent. They are, after all, unavoidably connected to the hand.
His last decades were, moreover, substantially devoted to teaching some of the ﬁnest players of the early recording era and witnessed the gradual supplanting of the composer-performer in favor of today’s interpreterperformer. It is nevertheless likely that Liszt would have been surprised at just how complete the triumph of the latter was to be. Liszt’s so-called pianistic duel with Thalberg in 1837 is a memorable, if slightly arbitrary, starting point in dating any alleged pianistic Great Tradition and its performance practice.