PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorIn 24 chapters (his homage to the Preludes), Kildea, a composer, pianist, and author of a biography of composer Benjamin Britten, tells a sweeping story, which only partly considers the \'search\' for the instrument upon which Chopin labored in Majorca. In graceful prose, Kildea explores developments in the history of piano-making, changes in the way pianists have approached their craft, and, most luminously, the music of Chopin. Along the way, Kildea considers the idea of Romanticism, touches on European history, and offers a stimulating discussion on the evolution of nineteenth-century Paris. The reader also encounters Tolstoy, Rodin, and numerous celebrated musicians from Chopin’s time down to our own. Nor can one forget Wanda Landowska, the central figure in the second half of the book ... Upon completing this fine volume, one is tempted to shed a tear because the whereabouts of Chopin’s piano remain a mystery. Far better, though, to take comfort from the fact that his music survives. That seems a reasonable tradeoff, though it would be wonderful to find his piano.
RaveThe Christian Science Monitor... sweeping exploration of both aspects of Toscanini’s life ... [Sachs] paints a captivating portrait of the conductor, from his birth in Parma in 1867 to his final days in New York 89 years later. And while he traces themes both musical and political, Sachs does not neglect the maestro’s personal life, including his countless extramarital affairs, which are integral to the story ... In pages brimming with the political struggles of the twentieth century, Sachs reveals the fiery eloquence Toscanini directed against the evils of fascism...As this engrossing volume demonstrates, throughout his remarkable life, millions looked to Toscanini for inspiration both inside and outside the auditorium.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorIn 20 beautifully rendered essays on subjects like repetition, slowness, speed, sadness, virtuosity, improvisation, loudness, and intimacy, Ratliff establishes provocative and thoroughly unexpected connections between genres of music that the average listener – or even the sophisticated one – would not have perceived.
RaveThe Christian Science Monitor...a detailed, authoritative, and illuminating account of the end of the competition that defined world politics for more than four decades.