Beethoven the Pianist

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Cambridge University Press, May 13, 2010 - Music - 274 pages
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The widely held belief that Beethoven was a rough pianist, impatient with his instruments, is not altogether accurate: it is influenced by anecdotes dating from when deafness had begun to impair his playing. Presenting a new, detailed biography of Beethoven's formative years, this book reviews the composer's early career, outlining how he was influenced by teachers, theorists and instruments. Skowroneck describes the development and decline of Beethoven's pianism, and pays special attention to early pianos, their construction and their importance for Beethoven and the modern pianist. The book also includes new discussions of legato and Beethoven's trills, and a complete annotated review of eyewitnesses' reports about his playing. Skowroneck presents a revised picture of Beethoven which traces his development from an impetuous young musician into a virtuoso in command of many musical resources.
 

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Outstanding portrait of Beethoven from a different angle: his development as a composer concurrent with the development of the pianoforte. Interesting insights into the prevailing pedagogies of late 18th century Germany, smart comparison of critical opinions through the centuries, and up-to-date research on influences and events in the early life of Beethoven. Skowroneck's work is scholarly but very readable. A "thrill-a-minute page-turner" for Beethoven aficionados! 

Contents

Introduction
1
Part I Beethoven his playing and his instruments
9
Introduction
11
Chapter 1 Beethovens early training
13
Chapter 2 Beethoven the pianist
35
Chapter 3 Beethovens first decade in Vienna
64
Chapter 4 The 1803 Érard grand piano
85
Part II Sound ideal and performance
117
Chapter 6 The players influence
142
Part III Sound ideal notation and stylistic change
169
Introduction
171
Chapter 7 Common touch and legato
172
Chapter 8 The performance of Beethovens trills
217
Epilog
260
Bibliography
263
Index
271

Introduction
119
Chapter 5 The builders influence
124

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About the author (2010)

Tilman Skowroneck is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton, and is also a freelance harpsichordist and fortepianist. His main area of interest is the early piano, its construction and its repertoire. This is his first book.

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