A Pianist’s A-Z by Alfred Brendel

Subtitle: A Piano Lover’s Reader

Published: 2013 in English, 2012 in its original German

Genre: nonfiction music

Length: 115 pages, although 26 of them are just a single letter of the alphabet

Interest: I saw it at the library and was intrigued. I play and teach the piano and thought a book of essays about the piano might be interesting and useful.

Summary: The author goes through each letter of the alphabet and provides information about words or names that start with that letter. The words can be techniques (like staccato or chord or pedal), grand master composers (like Bach, Beethoven, or Chopin), or styles of playing (like humor, form or transition). Some of the discussions are only a few sentences, while others are paragraphs long.

Final thoughts: This was a much more technical book than I expected. Brendel referred to individual pieces of music by name and number, and often provided specific performances of the work to illustrate each point. You almost wanted a music guide to go along with the book, i.e. you’ve read the section on cantabile, now listen to Edwin Fischer’s recording of the second movement of Bach’s F minor Concerto for a beautiful example of this concept. The book is definitely geared more toward the music aficionado than someone who just plays around on the piano, but I still found it interesting and useful.

Title comes from: it’s descriptive of the book subject

Reading challenges fulfilled: none because it was so short. If I can read it in a day with hardly any effort, I don’t usually count it toward my challenges.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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