Magazine article American Music Teacher

Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing

Magazine article American Music Teacher

Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing

Article excerpt

Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing, by Neal Peres Da Costa. Oxford University Press, Inc., 2012. www.oup.com/us; 384 pp., $45.00.

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The topic of performance practice, for all stylistic periods of music history, continues to be an outlet for scholarship and research. Given that musical notation provides an important, though incomplete, window into the preparation of a performance and written guides often fail to fully define important performance traditions, the author utilizes recordings of the music to illustrate a variety of practices to be considered in the presentation of 19th century piano literature. While much has been written for pianists to consider on baroque and classical music, this book addresses critical concepts in performance practice of 19th century piano literature as preserved in the various technologies utilizing piano roll reproductions, as well as acoustic and electrical recordings. Employing the analysis of existing recordings of famous pianists, such as Carl Reinecke, Theodor Leschetizky, Camille SaintSaens, Johannes Brahms, their students and many other well-known pianists of the late 19th and early 20th century, the author makes a strong case for the consideration of practices that go beyond the notation of the score to enrich and inform the performances of today's pianists.

In the initial chapter, the author examines a variety of early recording techniques, clarifying the capabilities of each. …

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