Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Piano Lessons

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Piano Lessons

Article excerpt

Anna Goldsworthy (2009). Piano Lessons. Melbourne: Black Inc. ISBN 9781863954433, PB, 224pp

Piano Lessons is an elegantly crafted piece of writing from its organisation, through its array of characters, to the descriptive account of learning music. Anna Goldsworthy presents an account of her growth and development as a musician and as a person.

The book is organised in three parts with a coda. Each chapter takes as its title a composer's name. Associated with the composer is a particular musical work which was the focus at that time in her life. The composers/chapters of Part 1 are Bach, Mozart, Shostakovich and Debussy. Part 2 consists of Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt and Prokofiev. Part 3 includes Bach, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Khachaturian. The coda comprises Mozart and Chopin.

Central to the book are the two main characters: Anna Goldsworthy and her teacher the Russian pianist, Eleonora Sivan. With each chapter (and each piece of music) we are introduced to the cascade of events in Anna Goldsworthy's life, her experiences and the anguished ease with which she approached the learning and performing of the repertoire. The compressed chronology of life unfolds among the family members and the ever daunting milestones that are so much of the forward flow of the writing. …

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