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Chopin's Piano

Nonfiction: Biography, History, Music
Unabridged   9.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 10/16/2018

Chopin's Piano

In Search of the Instrument that Transformed Music

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684416561
Digital Download ISBN:9781684416578


The captivating story of Frédéric Chopin and the fate of both his Mallorquin piano and musical Romanticism from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

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Product Description

In November 1838, Frédéric Chopin, George Sand, and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognized as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism: his twenty-four Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island, so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, Juan Bauza.

Chopin's Piano traces the history of Chopin's twenty-four Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them, and the traditions they came to represent. Yet it begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which assumed an astonishing cultural potency during the Second World War as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to appropriate as their own.

After Chopin, the unexpected hero of Chopin's Piano is the great keyboard player Wanda Landowska, who rescued the pianino from Valldemossa in 1913, and who would later become one of the most influential artistic figures of the twentieth century. Paul Kildea shows how her story resonates with Chopin's, simultaneously distilling part of the cultural and political history of mid-twentieth-century Europe and the United States.


“A wonderful book about music, musicians, cultural similarities and differences, the blood and gore of revolutionary times, and the compensations of high art. Kildea writes with elegance and wit.” —The Times (London)

“Beguiling....A wonderful, melodic take on Chopin's genius.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Engrossing....A deeply researched, gracefully told music history.” —Kirkus

Author Bio

Paul Kildea is a conductor and writer who formerly served as artistic director of Wigmore Hall in London. He is the author of Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century.