By Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton's booklet 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 contributors in their audiences by means of a pianist who believes that scholarship and clarity can move hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous but full of life element the performance-style of significant 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 at the present time, how a regularly unhistorical "respect for the rating" started to exchange pianists' improvisations and diversifications, and the way the scientific customized arose that an viewers may be visible and never heard. Pianists will locate nutrients for suggestion right here 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 notice of the rating, nor finish with the final. He emphasizes that anxiousness over mistaken notes is a comparatively contemporary psychosis, and enjoying fullyyt from reminiscence a comparatively fresh requirement. Audiences will stumble upon a vibrant account of the way tremendously assorted are the recitals they attend in comparison to live shows of the earlier, and the way their very own position has reduced from noisily lively individuals within the live performance adventure to passive recipients of inventive benediction from the level. they're going to observe whilst cowed listeners finally stopped applauding among hobbies, and why they stopped speaking loudly in the course of them. The book's huge message publicizes that there's not anything divinely ordained approximately our personal concert-practices, programming and piano-performance kinds. Many points of the trendy process are unhistorical-some laudable, a few in basic terms ludicrous. also they are some distance faraway from these fondly, if deceptively, remembered as constituting a Golden Age.
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Extra info for After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance
There are also a vast number of performance features, including rubatos, chordal balances, half-pedalings—the list goes on— that cannot be more than vaguely indicated by any type of notation at our disposal without ludicrously overloading the text and the performer. As for the composer’s ‘‘intentions’’ themselves, Peter Stadlen’s astonishing edition of Webern’s Variations—annotated by him after lessons on the piece from the composer—or Messaien’s performances of his own organ music, or Rachmaninoff ’s recordings of his concertos should make us realize how awkward this superﬁcially simple issue can really be.
16 AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE doubt that they had ethereally unapproachable talents and unequaled gifts. It is merely a counsel of despair that claims we needs must live in a silver or even a bronze age after the fabled age of gold. The Legacy of Liszt and Thalberg Liszt was both an initiatory and a transitional ﬁgure as a piano virtuoso, but on his death some modern concert practices that we unwisely take for granted were far from established. The initiatory aspects of his career—heavily stressed in the ﬁrst full-scale biography, Lina Ramann’s Franz Liszt als Ku¨nstler und Mensch—have been further emphasized in scholarly and not-so-scholarly literature.
Even today there seems to be hardly a music student who is not familiar with at least one of them.