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another book about the history of the piano

Discussion in 'Useful resources' started by pianolady, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    There is a new book out about pianos titled, A Natural History of the Piano”.

    http://www.amazon.com/Natural-History-P ... 709&sr=8-1

    I just read a review of it in the Wall Street Journal today and learned of a nice story about Beethoven.

    This is the excerpt from the book:

    In 1804, the pianist Dorothea Ertmann, who had studied Beethoven’s works with the composer, lost her young son. Mrs. Ertmann was so stricken that for weeks she was unable to weep. Hearing of her grief, Beethoven invited her to his house to offer his condolences, though he said not a word. He played for more than an hour until Ertmann began to sob. When she told the story years later to Felix Mendelssohn, she said that Beethoven’s playing “told me everything, and at last brought me comfort.”


    Isn’t that nice? Talk about the power of music!!
    I think Beethoven was not as mean and gruff as many people portray him to be.
     
  2. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Monica, for sharing this great anecdote. It further inspires our understanding and knowledge of Beethoven. I am in awe that his power still resonates to this day!

    I believe that during such moments in life, words can neither be heard by the suffering, nor can they be fully consoling in the thick of despair. Beethoven's musical archetype spans the nobility of the human spirit to the depths of tragic loss through his language of music. It continues beyond where words fall short. Life is full of contrasts: a seemingly angry man, capable of understanding the human condition at such a deep and sensitive level that would seem impervious to most knowledgeable. I think it's a view shared by many who knew him, they would argue that they could live with the 'gruff' of the man anytime, just to witness the presence of the music. Can there be a greater cause in harnessing the power of music than to ameliorate the human condition or knowing it's deepest meaning?... That is why one cannot go too long without playing a Beethoven Sonata - I think the soul senses an urgency.

    How true that only music seems to penetrate the soul during difficult times. I remember for my Dad's 40th Day Ascension Memorial, there were hardly any words spoken. I ran slide show of his life and synchronized it with music - Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Sinding, Sinatra, and Boccelli. More tears where shed during the music than all the words spoken at the wake.

    What a great discovery, Monica. I'd love to read this book!

    George
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Me too - I ordered it yesterday.

    And your words are really lovely, George. Thank you for sharing them. :)
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Thanks for recommending The Natural History of the Piano. I'll have to look into it.

    I especially love books on piano performance (I own many of them). Anyway, one that had been out of print has recently been reprinted by Dover. It is Notes on the Piano by an American, Ernst Bacon (1898-1990), available from Amazon for about $11.00. I got it last week and finished reading it and thought it was quite good. It's not the best one I've ever read, but I'd give it a B+. Just thought I'd mention it here.

    David
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David,

    Thank you also for the book recommendation! :D

    Regarding A Natural History of the Piano: I just started reading it yesterday, so I'm not very far into it. But so far, so good! There are nice photos and so many interesting tidbits already; I want to share some of them here but I don't know where to start. One thing - I've learned there were many more versions of the early piano (before Cristofori) than I had realized. Also, I have to listen to some Oscar Peterson!!
     
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Outrageous it is indeed. Dreadful, no I would not say that. Good clean fun, and a musically worthwhile result. The piano as as much right of being mocked as anything else :D
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about. :?

    Anyone???
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I smell a troll.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Actually I now remember that quote... It was what I wrote in this thread

    viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5616

    about the Bowed Piano Ensemble last year. Some time ago we also had a troll posting random tidbits from the forum. I'll throw this one off too. Can't fathom why they do it.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, how bizarre!!
     
  11. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Maybe it was because you had to listen to Oscar Peterson (although I would never call that outrageous or dreadful).
     

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