By Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton's e-book engagingly and lucidly dissects the oft-invoked fable of an excellent culture, or Golden Age of Pianism. it's written either for gamers and for participants in their audiences by means of a pianist who believes that scholarship and clarity can move hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous but energetic 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 live shows advanced from exuberant, occasionally riotous occasions into the formal, funereal trotting out of predictable items they are often this day, how a regularly unhistorical "respect for the ranking" started to substitute pianists' improvisations and variations, and the way the scientific customized arose that an viewers could be obvious and never heard. Pianists will locate meals for suggestion right here on their repertoire and the traditions of its functionality. Hamilton chronicles why pianists of the prior didn't regularly commence a bit with the 1st notice of the ranking, nor finish with the final. He emphasizes that nervousness over flawed notes is a comparatively contemporary psychosis, and enjoying fullyyt from reminiscence a comparatively contemporary requirement. Audiences will stumble upon a brilliant account of ways enormously diverse are the recitals they attend in comparison to live shows of the earlier, and the way their very own function has reduced from noisily lively individuals within the live performance adventure to passive recipients of inventive benediction from the degree. they are going to realize while cowed listeners finally stopped applauding among routine, and why they stopped speaking loudly in the course of them. The book's large message publicizes that there's not anything divinely ordained approximately our personal concert-practices, programming and piano-performance kinds. Many elements of the trendy technique 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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Additional info for After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance
New York: Century, 1902), 577–84. 30 AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE many of our present-day players would hardly have expected anyone—apart from maybe an eighteenth-century clavicenist—to sound quite like Paderewski. Perhaps with hindsight we should have been less self-centered in our expectations. We tend to imagine earlier performance styles by working back from our own day, underestimating the chances that it is in fact we—with our recording-based music industry, standardized instruments, and standardized training—who may represent a radical break with the past.
Steane, The Grand Tradition: Seventy Years of Singing on Record (London: Duckworth, 1974), and John Rosselli, Singers of Italian Opera: The History of a Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 20 AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE before 1867, when Steinway and Sons scored an overwhelming success in the Paris International Exhibition with its iron-framed, overstrung grand, was originally intended for instruments signiﬁcantly different from the modern concert piano (here deﬁned for convenience, though tendentiously, as a Hamburg or New York Steinway Model D).
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.