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After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance
Kenneth Hamilton
Oxford University Press 2007
(ISBN 978-0195178265)

"jolly and entertaining... full of wit and interest, and written with passion... a delightful and instructive book" - Charles Rosen, Times Literary Supplement
"After the Golden Age is written in a engaging and entertaining style, and it covers a wealth of material, making a major contribution to the study of performance style. Bluntly, it should be required reading for all piano literature classes, read by all serious students of the piano, and likewise by anyone interested in the ways performance styles and personalities intersect with the literature...[It] will probably retain its relevance for decades."- Jonathan Bellman, Journal of Musicological Research

Kenneth Hamilton's book engagingly and lucidly dissects the oft-invoked myth of a Great Tradition, or Golden Age of Pianism. It is written both for players and for members of their audiences by a pianist who believes that scholarship and readability can go hand-in-hand. Hamilton discusses in meticulous yet lively detail the performance-style of great pianists from Liszt to Paderewski, and delves into the far-from-inevitable development of the piano recital. He entertainingly 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' improvisations and adaptations, and how the clinical custom arose that an audience should be seen and not heard. Pianists will find food for thought here on their repertoire and the traditions of its performance. Hamilton chronicles why pianists of the past did not always begin a piece with the first note of the score, nor end with the last. He emphasizes that anxiety over wrong notes is a relatively recent psychosis, and playing entirely from memory a relatively recent requirement. Audiences will encounter a vivid account of how drastically different are the recitals they attend 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. They will discover when cowed listeners eventually stopped applauding between movements, and why they stopped talking loudly during them. 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, if deceptively, remembered as constituting a Golden Age.

The Virtuoso Liszt: New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism
Dana Gooley
Cambridge University Press 2009
(ISBN 978-0521108720)

"engaging...a responsible piece of historical and interpretative writing, a valuable contribution to our understanding of Liszt and the forces that made his remarkable career possible." - Times Literary Supplement
"The Virtuoso Liszt serves as the needed corrective to the traditional one-dimensional narrative about Liszt's virtuoso years, and it is eminently readable. Through carefully chosen, heavily documented, and sagely interpreted case studies, Dana Gooley has opened windows for our understanding not only of Liszt, but also of the times and places in which he worked." --Journal of the American Musicological Society

How does Franz Liszt's career compare when viewed from the perspective of European cultural history? This book examines how Liszt's contemporaries perceived and interpreted his significance. Dana Gooley explains why the cultural context of his concert career contributed to his unprecedented popularity and focuses on controversies provoked by Liszt in the press. Gooley includes many new insights about his highly original performing style.