Penguin Book


Chopin's Piano

Paul Kildea

In November 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished one of the great works of musical Romanticism - his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island, so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in their monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left. This book traces the history of Chopin's 24 Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. It begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which during the Second World War assumed an astonishing cultural potency as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to claim as their own. The unexpected hero of the second part of the book is the great keyboard player and musical thinker Wanda Landowska, who rescued the pianino 1913. Kildea shows how her story resonates with Chopin's, while simultaneously distilling part of the cultural and political history of Europe and the United States in the central decades of the century. Kildea's beautifully interwoven narratives, part cultural history and part detective story, take us on an unexpected journey through musical Romanticism and allow us to reflect freshly on the changing meaning of music over time.

Paul Kildea is a conductor and writer and former artistic director of Wigmore Hall in London. In 2013 Allen Lane published his biography of Benjamin Britten to enormous acclaim.

Division
Penguin
Publication date
07/06/2018
Category
  • Arts and Culture
  • History
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Extent
368
US
W.W. Norton & Company Inc
Translation
Penguin
Rights sold
Italian
CHINESE COMPLEX
Chinese Simplified
Film
David Godwin Associates Ltd
Serial
Penguin
Audio (Unabridged)
Penguin
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