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on 25 April 2001
For anyone interested in the piano, be it the action of playing or listening, you NEED this book. Schonberg is obviously deeply in love with the subject, and this comes through on every page, with such well researched, joyful writing. He also manages to 'de-intellectualise' the subject, and presents practical musical information alongside subjective and fascinating annecdotes, which lend a hugely personal tone to the book. This is a massive achievement, and one to savour
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on 22 March 1997
This is one of the most amusing, entertaining, yet historically accurate books I have read. From Mozart's opinions of other pianists to Debussy's ideas of pedalling to Percy Grainger's thoughts on flappers and the feminist movement, this book is as alive as the great story it tells-the story of the piano and the influence it is had on every society that has known it. Written by a former New York Times music editor, this book is an essential addition to the bookshelf of any music maker or lover.
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on 30 March 1999
This book, by Harold Schonberg, is an endless description of the pianists who made the piano what it is today. It's humurous, factual, entertaining and most of all informative to maximum level that we laymen can cope with. Well, done. I will certainly read other Schonberg books - in between practicing my dim7 scales of course.
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on 13 March 1998
There is absolutely nothing else on the market which can compare to this book. The definitive "encyclopedia" of the piano, composers for the piano, and concert pianists. The author goes into great depth about currently unknown and obscure pianists particularly of the 19th century. The "salon-parlour" music of this period is now experiencing a tremendous revival I am sure at least partly due to this book. He also provides indispensable knowledge about who taught whom - so much so, a geneology tree could easily be made. I have read it at least 20 times through the years, and the book never ceases to amaze me. The tour de force among ALL music books!
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on 13 January 2011
This book is simply one of the best books about piano playing and virtuoso history I have ever read. Full of interesting anecdotes and facts it's both educating and entertaining. Playing the piano myself this book was a fantastic inspiration to pursue a higher level of playing. And a great history lesson too.
Buy this book if you love the piano and the history of all the great virtuoso's that played it since Bach.
Top read!
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on 26 July 2014
An absolute pleasure to read. I would highly recommend this to anyone even remotely iinterested in the world of pianists. Wonderfully written in a highly informed but humorous style, Schonberg gives us an insight into the most prominent pianists from each era, some of whom are now completely forgotten, and describes how they achieved their particular style, tecnique and tone etc, all interjected with humorous anecdotes from their upbringing and development, their performances, romances and the relationships between the artists.
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on 7 July 2015
It's beyond me how someone who wasn't a musician, can 'criticize' musical masters of all kind. I think it's a joke. It's like someone who never raced F1, sitting on his butt and saying what racers have done right or wrong. Ridiculous. He even TAUGHT 'music criticism'. Bah ah ah ah, hilarious. And everybody, like fools, gave great importance to Harold Schoenberg. Me, I'll stick with Robert Greenberg, at least the guy is a composer.
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