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After the Golden Age: Romantic pianism and modern performance

Hamilton, Kenneth ORCID: 2008. After the Golden Age: Romantic pianism and modern performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178265.001.0001

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This book dissects the oft-invoked myth of a romantic Golden Age of Pianism. It discusses the performance-style of great pianists from Liszt to Paderewski and Busoni, and delves into the far-from-inevitable development of the piano recital. The book recounts how classical concerts evolved from exuberant, sometimes riotous events into the formal, funereal trotting out of predictable pieces they can be today; how an often unhistorical “respect for the score” began to replace pianists' improvizations and adaptations; and how the clinical custom arose that an audience should be seen and not heard. The book chronicles why pianists of the past did not always begin a piece with the first note of the score, nor end with the last. It emphasizes that anxiety over wrong notes is a relatively recent psychosis, and that playing entirely from memory a relatively recent requirement. The book presents a vivid tale of how drastically different are the recitals of the present compared to concerts of the past, and how their own role has diminished from noisily active participants in the concert experience to passive recipients of artistic benediction from the stage. The book's broad message proclaims that there is nothing divinely ordained about our own concert-practices, programming, and piano-performance styles. Many aspects of the modern approach are unhistorical — some laudable, some merely ludicrous. They are also far removed from those fondly remembered as constituting a Golden Age.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Uncontrolled Keywords: pianos, performance-practice, improvisation, audiences, applause, concert-etiquette, repertoire, Liszt, Paderewski, Busoni
Additional Information: Daily Telegraph Christmas book of the Year 2008. Choice 2008 Oustanding Title of the Year. Winner of Certificate of Merit for the 2009 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195178265
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:04

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