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Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743243129, Paperback)Among the world's instruments, the piano stands out as the most versatile, powerful, and misunderstood -- even by those who have spent much of their lives learning to play. In Piano Notes, a finalist for a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, Charles Rosen, one of the world's most talented pianists, distills a lifetime of wisdom and lore into an unforgettable tour of the hidden world of piano playing.
You'll read about how a note is produced, why a chord can move us, why the piano -- "hero and villain" of tonality -- has shaped the course of Western music, and why it is growing obsolete. Rosen explains what it means that Beethoven composed in his head whereas Mozart would never dream of doing so, why there are no fortissimos in the works of Ravel, and why a piano player's acrobatics have an important dramatic effect but nothing more. Ending on a contemplative note, Piano Notes offers an elegant argument that piano music "is not just sound or even significant sound" but a mechanical, physical, and fetishistic experience that faces new challenges in an era of recorded music. Rosen ponders whether piano playing will ever again be the same, and his insights astonish.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:42 -0400)
"In Piano Notes, he writes for an audience about an old friend - the piano itself. Drawing upon a lifetime of wisdom and the accumulated lore of many great performers of the past, Rosen shows why the instrument demands such a stark combination of mental and physical prowess. Readers will gather many little-known insights - from how pianists vary their posture, to how splicings and microphone placements can ruin recordings, to how the history of composition was dominated by the piano for two centuries. Stories of many great musicians abound. Rosen reveals Nadia Boulanger's favorite way to avoid commenting on the performances of her friends ("You know what I think, " spoken with utmost earnestness), why Glenn Gould's recordings suffer from "double-strike" touches, and how even Vladimir Horowitz became enamored of splicing multiple performances into a single recording. Rosen's explanation of the piano's physical pleasures, demands, and discontents will delight and instruct anyone who has ever sat at a keyboard, as well as everyone who loves to listen to the instrument."--BOOK JACKET.
An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
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