Music

Chopin's Piano | ,

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'Beguiling ... Limpidly written, effortlessly learned' William Boyd, TLS, Books of the Year In November 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognised as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism - his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island (these were still early days in the evolution of the modern instrument), so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in their monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left. This brilliant and unclassifiable book traces the history of Chopin's 24 Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. Yet it begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which during the Second World War assumed an astonishing cultural potency as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to appropriate as their own. The unexpected hero of the second part of the book is the great keyboard player and musical thinker Wanda Landowska, who rescued the pianino from Valldemossa in 1913, and who would later become one of the most influential musical figures of the twentieth century. Kildea shows how her story - a compelling account based for the first time on her private papers - resonates with Chopin's, while simultaneously distilling part of the cultural and political history of Europe and the United States in the central decades of the century. Kildea's beautifully interwoven narratives, part cultural history and part detective story, take us on an unexpected journey through musical Romanticism and allow us to reflect freshly on the changing meaning of music over time..

Biography & Autobiography

Fryderyk Chopin | Dr. Alan Walker

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. The Sunday Times (U.K.) Classical Music Book of 2018 and one of The Economist's Best Books of 2018. "A magisterial portrait." --Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times Book Review A landmark biography of the Polish composer by a leading authority on Chopin and his time Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, and Washington, D.C., Alan Walker’s monumental Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English in more than a century. Walker’s work is a corrective biography, intended to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin. Fryderyk Chopin is an intimate look into a dramatic life; of particular focus are Chopin’s childhood and youth in Poland, which are brought into line with the latest scholarly findings, and Chopin’s romantic life with George Sand, with whom he lived for nine years. Comprehensive and engaging, and written in highly readable prose, the biography wears its scholarship lightly: this is a book suited as much for the professional pianist as it is for the casual music lover. Just as he did in his definitive biography of Liszt, Walker illuminates Chopin and his music with unprecedented clarity in this magisterial biography, bringing to life one of the nineteenth century’s most confounding, beloved, and legendary artists..

Fiction

Life of Chopin | Franz Liszt

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Frederic Chopin, a Polish virtuoso pianist and piano composer of the Romantic period, is widely regarded as the greatest Polish composer, and one of the most influential composers for piano in the 19th century. Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist of the 19th century. This book is not so much a biography of Chopin as it is a way of better understanding Liszt and the circumstances of his time. Though critics of Liszt's book have assailed it for various literary infractions, it is not without merit. There is much to be learned within its pages about both Chopin and Liszt..

Music

Chasing Chopin | Annik LaFarge

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A modern take on a classical icon: this original, entertaining, well-researched book uses the story of when, where, and how Chopin composed his most famous work, uncovering many surprises along the way and showing how his innovative music still animates popular culture centuries later. The Frédéric Chopin Annik LaFarge presents here is not the melancholy, sickly, romantic figure so often portrayed. The artist she discovered is, instead, a purely independent spirit: an innovator who created a new musical language, an autodidact who became a spiritually generous, trailblazing teacher, a stalwart patriot during a time of revolution and exile. In Chasing Chopin she follows in his footsteps during the three years, 1837–1840, when he composed his iconic “Funeral March”—dum dum da dum—using its composition story to illuminate the key themes of his life: a deep attachment to his Polish homeland; his complex relationship with writer George Sand; their harrowing but consequential sojourn on Majorca; the rapidly developing technology of the piano, which enabled his unique tone and voice; social and political revolution in 1830s Paris; friendship with other artists, from the famous Eugène Delacroix to the lesser known, yet notorious in his time, Marquis de Custine. Each of these threads—musical, political, social, personal—is woven through the “Funeral March” in Chopin’s Opus 35 sonata, a melody so famous it’s known around the world even to people who know nothing about classical music. But it is not, as LaFarge discovered, the piece of music we think we know. As part of her research into Chopin’s world, then and now, LaFarge visited piano makers, monuments, churches, and archives; she talked to scholars, jazz musicians, video game makers, software developers, music teachers, theater directors, and of course dozens of pianists. The result is extraordinary: an engrossing, page-turning work of musical discovery and an artful portrayal of a man whose work and life continue to inspire artists and cultural innovators in astonishing ways. A companion website, WhyChopin, presents links to each piece of music mentioned in the book, organized by chapter in the order in which it appears, along with photos, resources, videos, and more..

Music

Chopin's Letters | Frederic Chopin

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Nearly 300 letters reveal Chopin as both man and artist and illuminate his fascinating world — Europe of the 1830s and 1840s. "Delightful gossip . . . merry rather than malicious . . . engagingly witty." — Books. Preface. Index..

Biography & Autobiography

Chopin's Funeral | Benita Eisler

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Frédéric Chopin’s reputation as one of the Great Romantics endures, but as Benita Eisler reveals in her elegant and elegiac biography, the man was more complicated than his iconic image. A classicist, conservative, and dandy who relished his conquest of Parisian society, the Polish émigré was for a while blessed with genius, acclaim, and the love of Europe’s most infamous woman writer, George Sand. But by the age of 39, the man whose brilliant compositions had thrilled audiences in the most fashionable salons lay dying of consumption, penniless and abandoned by his lover. In the fall of 1849, his lavish funeral was attended by thousands—but not by George Sand. In this intimate portrait of an embattled man, Eisler tells the story of a turbulent love affair, of pain and loss redeemed by art, and of worlds—both private and public—convulsed by momentous change..

Biography & Autobiography

Benjamin Britten | Paul Kildea

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Published to mark the beginning of the Britten centenary year in 2013, Paul Kildea's Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century is the definitive biography of Britain's greatest modern composer. In the eyes of many, Benjamin Britten was our finest composer since Purcell (a figure who often inspired him) three hundred years earlier. He broke decisively with the romantic, nationalist school of figures such as Parry, Elgar and Vaughan Williams and recreated English music in a fresh, modern, European form. With Peter Grimes (1945), Billy Budd (1951) and The Turn of the Screw (1954), he arguably composed the last operas - from any composer in any country - which have entered both the popular consciousness and the musical canon. He did all this while carrying two disadvantages to worldly success - his passionately held pacifism, which made him suspect to the authorities during and immediately after the Second World War - and his homosexuality, specifically his forty-year relationship with Peter Pears, for whom many of his greatest operatic roles and vocal works were created. The atmosphere and personalities of Aldeburgh in his native Suffolk also form another wonderful dimension to the book. Kildea shows clearly how Britten made this creative community, notably with the foundation of the Aldeburgh Festival and the building of Snape Maltings, but also how costly the determination that this required was. Above all, this book helps us understand the relationship of Britten's music to his life, and takes us as far into his creative process as we are ever likely to go. Kildea reads dozens of Britten's works with enormous intelligence and sensitivity, in a way which those without formal musical training can understand. It is one of the most moving and enjoyable biographies of a creative artist of any kind to have appeared for years. Paul Kildea is a writer and conductor who has performed many of the Britten works he writes about, in opera houses and concert halls from Sydney to Hamburg. His previous books include Selling Britten (2002) and (as editor) Britten on Music (2003). He was Head of Music at the Aldeburgh Festival between 1999 and 2002 and subsequently Artistic Director of the Wigmore Hall in London..

Music

Nocturnes (Complete) | Frí©dí©ric Chopin,Willard A. Palmer

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The nocturnes (night pieces) are among the most introspective and personal of Chopin's works, as he was influenced by John Field's pieces of the same title. This complete collection of the nocturnes includes a useful thematic index and footnotes citing the differences between the manuscripts and the first editions. The pedaling, tempos and other musical markings are Chopin's..

Music

Mazurkas | Frédéric Chopin

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Features 51 best-loved compositions, reproduced directly from the authoritative Kistner edition edited by Carl Mikuli, a pupil of Chopin. Editor's Foreword, 1879..

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An Introduction to His Piano Works | Béla Bartók,Willard A. Palmer

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This volume contains 31 pieces from The First Term at the Piano, For Children, 10 Easy Pieces and 7 Sketches. The informative foreword includes Bartók's specific instructions on wrist and finer action, articulations and syncopation. Each piece is prefaced by a brief introduction..

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Pianists Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature | Jane Magrath

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This reference book is an invaluable resource for teachers, students and performers for evaluating and selecting piano solo literature. Concise and thoroughly researched, thousands of works, from the Baroque through the Contemporary periods, have been graded and evaluated in detail. Includes an alphabetical list of composers, explanations of works and much more..

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14 of His Easiest Piano Selections | Frédéric Chopin

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This Practical Performing Edition is a well-rounded introduction to Chopin's easiest piano pieces. It contains the familiar "Prelude in A Major," "Prelude in B minor" and "Prelude in E minor," three waltzes (published posthumously), six mazurkas and additional works. Ornaments are realized and fingering and pedal suggestions are provided. Biographical information and a brief discussion of each work further assist students with Chopin's style..

Biography & Autobiography

Play It Again | Alan Rusbridger

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As editor of the Guardian, one of the world's foremost newspapers, Alan Rusbridger abides by the relentless twenty-four-hour news cycle. But increasingly in midlife, he feels the gravitational pull of music—especially the piano. He sets himself a formidable challenge: to fluently learn Chopin's magnificent Ballade No. 1 in G minor, arguably one of the most difficult Romantic compositions in the repertory. With pyrotechnic passages that require feats of memory, dexterity, and power, the piece is one that causes alarm even in battle-hardened concert pianists. He gives himself a year. Under ideal circumstances, this would have been a daunting task. But the particular year Rusbridger chooses turns out to be one of frenetic intensity. As he writes in his introduction, "Perhaps if I'd known then what else would soon be happening in my day job, I might have had second thoughts. For it would transpire that, at the same time, I would be steering the Guardian through one of the most dramatic years in its history." It was a year that began with WikiLeaks' massive dump of state secrets and ended with the Guardian's revelations about widespread phone hacking at News of the World. "In between, there were the Japanese tsunami, the Arab Spring, the English riots . . . and the death of Osama Bin Laden," writes Rusbridger. The test would be to "nibble out" twenty minutes per day to do something totally unrelated to the above. Rusbridger's description of mastering the Ballade is hugely engaging, yet his subject is clearly larger than any one piece of classical music. Play It Again deals with focus, discipline, and desire but is, above all, about the sanctity of one's inner life in a world dominated by deadlines and distractions. What will you do with your twenty minutes?.

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Piano For Dummies, 3rd Edition | Hal Leonard Corporation

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Explore the basics of the piano keyboard Read music and understand keys and time signatures Play melodies and hone your techniques If you've dreamed of playing piano, here's where to start! There's no better way to start learning music than by learning how to play piano. It doesn't matter if you've never had a lesson or need a refresher on piano basics, this book helps you discover the joy of making music on the most versatile instrument of all. Simple step-by-step instruction gets you started, guiding you from basic beginner tunes into more advanced techniques. Get acquainted, or reacquainted, with how to read music, play chords, and build your own playing style. Inside... Play your first notes Find Middle C and beyond Get started with beginner tunes Approach old lessons in a new way Navigate sharps and flats Learn more with online audio and video.

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Ignaz Friedman | Allan Evans

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Allan Evans's groundbreaking biography of Ignaz Friedman gives the reader the behind and the between of the life and career of this extraordinary pianist. Friedman's repertory emphasized the major works of Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms, but he was perhaps best known for his interpretation of the Chopin mazurkas, which by all accounts he played with the same rhythmic nuance as their composer. Evans examines Friedman's life as a cultured Jewish musician from Poland; his studies in Leipzig and Vienna; his marriage to Manya Schidlowsky -- a Russian countess and relative of Tolstoy; and his performing career, teaching, and retirement in Australia..

Music

At the Piano with Chopin | Frédéric Chopin,Maurice Hinson

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An excellent collection in Hinson's At the Piano Series. Contains many of his most popular Mazurkas, Preludes, Waltzes, Nocturnes--plus others! Includes informative biographical information and performance suggestions for each work..

Biography & Autobiography

Chopin in Paris | Tad Szulc

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Chopin in Paris introduces the most important musical and literary figures of Fryderyk Chopin's day in a glittering story of the Romantic era. During Chopin's eighteen years in Paris, lasting nearly half his short life, he shone at the center of the immensely talented artists who were defining their time -- Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Delacroix, Liszt, Berlioz, and, of course, George Sand, a rebel feminist writer who became Chopin's lover and protector. Tad Szulc, the author of Fidel and Pope John Paul II, approaches his subject with imagination and insight, drawing extensively on diaries, memoirs, correspondence, and the composer's own journal, portions of which appear here for the first time in English. He uses contemporary sources to chronicle Chopin's meteoric rise in his native Poland, an ascent that had brought him to play before the reigning Russian grand duke at the age of eight. He left his homeland when he was eighteen, just before Warsaw's patriotic uprising was crushed by the tsar's armies. Carrying the memories of Poland and its folk music that would later surface in his polonaises and mazurkas, Chopin traveled to Vienna. There he established his reputation in the most demanding city of Europe. But Chopin soon left for Paris, where his extraordinary creative powers would come to fruition amid the revolutions roiling much of Europe. He quickly gained fame and a circle of powerful friends and acquaintances ranging from Rothschild, the banker, to Karl Marx. Distinguished by his fastidious dress and the wracking cough that would cut short his life, Chopin spent his days composing and giving piano lessons to a select group of students. His evenings were spent at the keyboard, playing for his friends. It was at one of these Chopin gatherings that he met George Sand, nine years his senior. Through their long and often stormy relationship, Chopin enjoyed his richest creative period. As she wrote dozens of novels, he composed furiously -- both were compulsive creators. After their affair unraveled, Chopin became the protégé of Jane Stirling, a wealthy Scotswoman, who paraded him in his final year across England and Scotland to play for the aristocracy and even Queen Victoria. In 1849, at the age of thirty-nine, Chopin succumbed to the tuberculosis that had plagued him from childhood. Chopin in Paris is an illuminating biography of a tragic figure who was one of the most important composers of all time. Szulc brings to life the complex, contradictory genius whose works will live forever. It is compelling reading about an exciting epoch of European history, culture, and music -- and about one of the great love dramas of the nineteenth century..

Music

Slonimsky's Book of Musical Anecdotes | Nicholas Slonimsky

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Scathing reviews, whimsical stories, and diverting games fill the pages of this utterly engaging kaleidoscope of skewed tales on the world of Classical music. It dishes out a marvelous feast of tales served up by a master storyteller whose reach extends around the world and to the beginnings of civilization..

Biography & Autobiography

Chopin | Adam Zamoyski

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Zu Chopins 200. Geburtstag Frédéric Chopin ist nicht nur der berühmteste Komponist und Pianist der Romantik, er gilt auch als Inbegriff des romantischen Künstlers. In seiner exzellent geschriebenen Biografie macht Adam Zamoyski den Leser mit dem Menschen Chopin und seinem Leben bekannt: das kurze, von Krankheit geprägte Dasein, seine Kindheit, in der er in den polnischen Adelssalons auftrat, seine schillernde Karriere als Klaviervirtuose, -lehrer und innovativer Komponist in Paris, seine fast 10-jährige Liebesbeziehung zu der exaltierten Schriftstellerin George Sand. Dabei gelingt es dem Autor meisterhaft, die charakterliche Entwicklung Chopins nachzuzeichnen und ein farbiges Gesellschaftsbild des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts zu entwerfen. Und schließlich entkräftet Zamoyski auf verblüffende Weise den Mythos vom romantischsten aller Künstler. Eine brillant geschriebene Biografie des berühmtesten Klaviervirtuosen und Komponisten der Romantik..

Music

The Great Piano Works of Frédéric Chopin | Frédéric Chopin

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The featured pieces include such familiar titles as the Military Polonaise, the Raindrop Prelude, the Minute Waltz, the Revolutionary and Aeolian Harp Etudes, plus the famous Funeral March, along with many other often played pieces. This book features a painting of the composer on the cover, plus includes a preface about the composer and the wide selection of 55 piano solos..