Play It Again: An Amateur Against The Impossible

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Random House, Jan 17, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages
13 Reviews

In 2010, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, set himself an almost impossible task: to learn, in the space of a year, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 – a piece that inspires dread in many professional pianists.

His timing could have been better.

The next twelve months were to witness the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, the English riots, and the Guardian’s breaking of both WikiLeaks and the News of the World hacking scandal.

In the midst of this he carved out twenty minutes’ practice a day – even if that meant practising in a Libyan hotel in the middle of a revolution as well as gaining insights and advice from an array of legendary pianists, theorists, historians and neuroscientists, and even occasionally from secretaries of state.

But was he able to play the piece in time?

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Review: Play it Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible

User Review  - Duncan Simpson - Goodreads

A fascinating and stimulating read, which made me listen to Chopin! Alan Rusbridger is executive editor of Guardian, an English newspaper. He challenged himself to learn Chopin's Ballade No 1 in G ... Read full review

Review: Play it Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible

User Review  - Jim Mcvoy - Goodreads

A well-written account of an amateur pianist who decided to tackle the Chopin Ballade in g minor. The author is editor of The Guardian, and in between his struggles with Chopin, he tells wonderful ... Read full review

About the author (2013)

Alan Rusbridger is Editor in Chief of the Guardian and a keen amateur musician. After reading English at Cambridge he started on a local newspaper and tried his hand at a range of journalistic jobs – including reporter, columnist, critic, foreign correspondent, magazine editor, features editor and, from 1995, editor. During his time editing the Guardian the paper has won numerous awards and has grown to be one of the three largest online newspapers in the world. He led the paper's coverage of the secret WikiLeaks cables and the Guardian's campaign to get at the truth about phone hacking, which led to numerous resignations, the closure of the News of the World and the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the British press.

As a boy, he was a cathedral chorister, a reasonable orchestral clarinetist and a very mediocre pianist. He failed to be a world-class conductor, abandoned the organ and put his clarinets in the attic. In his mid 40s he restarted piano lessons and tried to make up for more than 30 years of missing technique. Since then, he has moved from ‘very mediocre’ to ‘mediocre’.

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