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  • Published: 6 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780141980560
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $28.00
Categories:

Chopin's Piano

A Journey through Romanticism




A dazzling exploration of Romantic music unlike any other, from one of the most exciting writers about classical music

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.

  • Published: 6 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780141980560
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $28.00
Categories:

About the author

Paul Kildea

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. He has written extensively on the relationship between music and culture in the twentieth century: 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. He lives in Berlin.

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Praise for Chopin's Piano

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

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

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

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