After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern by Kenneth Hamilton

By Kenneth Hamilton

Kenneth Hamilton's ebook engagingly and lucidly dissects the oft-invoked fantasy of an excellent culture, or Golden Age of Pianism. it's written either for avid gamers and for individuals in their audiences via a pianist who believes that scholarship and clarity can move hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous but vigorous 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 concert events advanced 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 rating" started to substitute pianists' improvisations and diversifications, and the way the medical customized arose that an viewers could be visible and never heard. Pianists will locate meals for suggestion the following on their repertoire and the traditions of its functionality. Hamilton chronicles why pianists of the previous didn't continually start a section with the 1st be aware of the rating, nor finish with the final. He emphasizes that nervousness over flawed notes is a comparatively fresh psychosis, and enjoying fullyyt from reminiscence a comparatively fresh requirement. Audiences will come across a bright account of the way significantly diversified are the recitals they attend in comparison to live shows of the earlier, and the way their very own function has lowered from noisily energetic individuals within the live performance event to passive recipients of inventive benediction from the degree. they are going to detect while cowed listeners ultimately stopped applauding among pursuits, and why they stopped speaking loudly in the course of them. The book's extensive message publicizes that there's not anything divinely ordained approximately our personal concert-practices, programming and piano-performance types. Many features of the fashionable process are unhistorical-some laudable, a few basically ludicrous. also they are a long way faraway from these fondly, if deceptively, remembered as constituting a Golden Age.

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The reason is straightforward. It had been originally intended to use Paderewski’s on-set performances for the soundtrack, 2 Adam Zamoyski, Paderewski (London: Collins, 1982), 227. Paderewski was supposedly enormously popular with both cast and crew on the set. They had expected a moody ‘‘great artiste’’ but were pleasantly surprised by his patience and charm. The flood of goodwill apparent on screen was, accordingly, not completely artificial. 4 Gaisberg was particularly pleased with the resultant ‘‘exceptionally fine’’ discs, which were also issued as stand-alone recordings by HMV, although he was convinced that nothing could equal the live impact of the master: ‘‘Of the greatness of Paderewski or Chaliapin neither gramophone or film can give anything but a faint suggestion.

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.

The cartoons needed no recommendation from Sir Henry Wood to gain viewers, and their effect was sustained long after their initial release date, owing to frequent reappearance on television throughout the world. Even today there seems to be hardly a music student who is not familiar with at least one of them.

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