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Some Books of Interest

Discussion in 'Useful resources' started by RSPIll, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Just thought that I'd mention some books that may be of interest. They are all by Charles Rosen.

    Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: a Short Companion
    This book has a commentary on each of the piano sonatas. Unlike many such companions, Mr. Rosen doesn't wax poetic, but rather points out salient features of the sonatas.

    The best part, though, is Part 1: The Tradition
    In this section he discusses many of the stylistic concepts and practices of the period. He talks about the formal principles of the period, Phrasing (and the meaning of slurs in classical practice vs. later romantic and 20th century thought), Tempo, Pedal and Trills, etc.

    This section would be of value not only to the Beethoven piano performer but as a guide to piano performance of music of the classical period.

    Includes CD of some examples

    Sonata Forms
    Yes, the plural is correct.

    Have you ever noticed how they taught us the pattern for the Sonata form in theory class and then as soon as they show us the sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven we had to stand on our heads to explain all of the "exceptions". "They were geniuses so they could break the rules."

    Rosen's claim is that the form that we were taught is a 19th century concept for 19th century purposes. The 3 masters didn't violate any supposed rules, but rather worked consistently within the classical vocabulary and language even as they expanded and enriched it.

    The Classical Style
    This one focuses on the various aspects and genres of the classical style through its 3 masters -- Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

    I admit, that moments are a bit of a trudge, not because of his writing, but the copious examples that he goes through in detail. It would be nice to have a CD of the examples. Though most are reduced to piano proportions, one doesn't always get the sound details, particularly for works for orchestra or opera. It does have a CD but just of the Hammerklavier.

    That said, even as I skimmed through some sections that were less related to piano, I found many interesting insights.

    I found each of these in the library, so you might be able to find them in yours.

    Scott
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the information, Scott. I just looked at my local library and they have "The Classical Style". Wish they had the first book you listed (Beethoven) but they don't. Maybe I'll keep looking elsewhere - seems like it would be very interesting to me.
     
  3. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    Thanks for this list - I didn't see any of them at my small local library, so I'll check and see if there are any used ones for sale on the web (particularly the Beethoven). All of the books look very interesting!
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    One suggestion,

    Our small library is part of a system that covers east central Illinois so they are able to get books from any library in the system. You might see if your library is so connected.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I had forgotten about that. My library is also connected so I just now sent a request to borrow the Beethoven book from another library. Thanks for the tip!
     
  6. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm gonna check these out too ... Rosen sounds familiar ... did he write something else that maybe I would be familiar with, or have already read?? hhmm ... just talking out loud. :oops:
     
  7. alf

    alf New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Maybe The Romantic Generation? I think we talked here with Terez about it before.
     
  8. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh yeah, that sounds right ... that was good too ... now I really wanna read the Classical Style.
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey, Scott - I now have both books in hand - "Beethoven's Piano Sonatas" and "The Classical Style."
    Still reading a Chopin book too, so now I really have a lot of reading material! (hope there is not a test afterwards? :))
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    The test will be multiple choice and 1 essay question.
     
  11. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    SCORE!!!! I rule at essay questions ... seeing as how I believe in the adage: Throw caca at them till they get tired of the smell!! :lol:
     

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