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Chopin's Piano: A Journey through Romanticism
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Paul Kildea
Chopin's Piano: A Journey through Romanticism by Paul Kildea at Abbey's Bookshop,

Chopin's Piano: A Journey through Romanticism

Paul Kildea



Western "classical" music;
Individual composers & musicians, bands & groups;
Keyboard instruments;
Social & cultural history


368 pages

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Chopin's Piano begins in November 1838, when George Sand, her children and Frederick Chopin took a boat to Majorca for the winter. It describes their circumstances there, and how Chopin completed one of the most revolutionary works in the history of music - his Preludes - on 'a small Mallorquin piano' which he picked up when they arrived and carted up to the monastery in the mountains where he and Sand lodged. Kildea traces the history of the Preludes, their pianists, their interpretations, and the history of the Mallorquin piano itself, to find an unexpected path through the history of romantic music - via Wanda Landowska in Berlin in 1913, Paris in 1940-41 when the Nazis seized the piano, down to the end of romantic music. It is an astonishing narrative and detective story, an unclassifiable and thrilling book, which explores in an original way the changing meaning of music through time.

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By:   Paul Kildea
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 21mm
Weight:   269g
ISBN:   9780141980560
ISBN 10:   0141980567
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   August 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Paul Kildea is a professional conductor and pianist (director of the Four Winds Festival in Australia and a former director of the Wigmore Hall in London) who writes about music with the insight of an insider. In 2013 Allen Lane/Penguin published his outstanding biography of Benjamin Britten to enormous acclaim. It is now widely recognised as the best book on its subject- the Financial Times called it 'unquestionably the music book of the year'. He lives in Berlin.

An episodic, picaresque tale, woven confidently - at times even pacily - by Kildea. He writes knowledgeably and approachably about music and sympathetically about his cast of characters. It is the story of an obsession, but it manages not to feel obsessional. ... I enjoyed it very much. -- Alan Rusbridger * Spectator * Chopin's Piano takes the motif of this piano - Out of date before it was completed ; its maker Juan Bauza unknown and possibly an amateur - and uses it to tie together various narrative strands in an original, constantly interesting format. As it does it tells the story of Chopin's work, the development of piano making, and how music became inextricably linked to atrocities in the 20th century. -- Jonathan McAloon * Financial Times * A wonderful book about music, musicians, cultural similarities and differences, the blood and gore of revolutionary times and the compensations of high art. Kildea writes with elegance and wit, and displays the kind of scholarship that does not come from simply mugging up on a few books. ... A book that will, amongst other things, send the reader back with fresh ears to the delightful, tormented Pole, and hear the music he composed on a borrowed piano in a monastery cell in Mallorca one terrible winter -- Michael Henderson * The Times *

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