By Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton's publication engagingly and lucidly dissects the oft-invoked fantasy of an outstanding culture, or Golden Age of Pianism. it truly is written either for gamers and for participants in their audiences by way of a pianist who believes that scholarship and clarity can cross hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous but vigorous aspect the performance-style of serious 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 frequently unhistorical "respect for the rating" started to exchange pianists' improvisations and variations, and the way the scientific customized arose that an viewers could be obvious and never heard. Pianists will locate nutrition for suggestion the following on their repertoire and the traditions of its functionality. Hamilton chronicles why pianists of the prior didn't constantly commence a bit with the 1st be aware of the ranking, nor finish with the final. He emphasizes that anxiousness over unsuitable notes is a comparatively contemporary psychosis, and enjoying fullyyt from reminiscence a comparatively contemporary requirement. Audiences will come across a bright account of ways vastly diversified are the recitals they attend in comparison to live shows of the previous, and the way their very own function has decreased from noisily energetic members within the live performance event to passive recipients of creative benediction from the level. they'll observe whilst cowed listeners ultimately stopped applauding among hobbies, and why they stopped conversing loudly in the course of them. The book's wide message pronounces that there's not anything divinely ordained approximately our personal concert-practices, programming and piano-performance types. Many facets of the fashionable strategy are unhistorical-some laudable, a few only ludicrous. also they are some distance faraway from these fondly, if deceptively, remembered as constituting a Golden Age.
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Additional resources for After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance
30 Yet he was no doubt perfectly sincere—if perhaps a triﬂe deluded—in his remarks. Virtually every era is golden to someone. ‘‘Everybody loves somebody sometime,’’ as Dean Martin used to sing. For Friedrich Wieck, writing in his Clavier und Gesang of 1853, ‘‘the golden age of the piano,’’ unsurprisingly just recently over, was the era of W. A. 31 For 29 Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years (London: Jonathan Cape, 1973), 78. , Fryderyck Chopin: Selected Correspondence (New York: McGraw Hill, 1963), 98.
The fact that many of the ﬁrst recording artists were well-established performers, and thus often relatively advanced in age (Paderewski was in his ﬁfties and Franc¸ois Plante´ nearly seventy when they made their ﬁrst recordings), has been used to argue that we hear them well past their best, in performances that are unrepresentative of what they may have produced thirty years before. This may be so in terms of technical facility, speed, bravura, and energy. ). But we can nevertheless learn much from the general performance approaches evinced by these recordings.
Gaisberg, 177. 6 Carl Czerny, U¨ber den richtigen Vortrag der saemmtlichen Werke fu¨r das Piano allein, ed. Paul BaduraSkoda (Vienna, 1963), 13; my translation. 5 36 AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE ability to perform it was treated as an instantly recognizable sign of a (magically enhanced) child prodigy—as indeed it probably would be. 7 For the former, the hand movements of Pachmann were apparently used as a general basis for the animation (although the piece in question was never in Pachmann’s repertoire).
After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance by Kenneth Hamilton