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The World Piano Bible

What could you possibly do if you were bored with your life in former East Germany? Well, with the right motivation you could start collecting data about pianos and their makers.

Growing up in East Germany, Jens Witter first learned to love piano music because his father played for the Central German Broadcasting station. While working in a piano factory in Leipzig, East Germany, Witter started cataloging pianos, inadvertently beginning what would eventually become his doctoral dissertation. He started his research during a time when he had access to a large number of persons who still had memories and stories from the golden era of piano manufacturing. The data archive grew and comprised 10 000 index cards and eventually became a massive Bible of Pianos containing some 40 000 names.

piano bible

This authoritative guide is essential for all serious collectors and makers of keyboard instruments. It’s a useful reference for every professional, piano technician, student, music merchant, keyboard enthusiast, and has a rightful place in public and academic libraries. The book also contains action makers and piano part suppliers, international city indexes, patents, and specific information about where to locate certain instruments in museums, private collections, and organizations.

This collection showcases over 8,000 color images of rare keyboard instruments made by master builders of the golden ages, including full-color images of their portraits, factories as well as contemporary keyboard instruments, pianos, reed & pipe organs, harpsichords, players etc. Includes well-known manufacturers like Bechstein, Boesendorfer, Fazioli, Steinway & Sons along with other long forgotten manufacturers which cannot be found in any other single reference work.

Many keyboard instrument makers disappeared during the wars in Europe, and may have later relocated in the U.S.A. or Canada and can now be found in this world-wide research under their new names with updated facts and essential information. This unique reference offers an expanded size and vast layout containing substantial amounts of pertinent information including beautiful and informative illustrations.

Read more at: www.theworldpianobible.com


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The Hidden Piano Treasure of Jean Sibelius

Strangely enough, it would be quite easy to attend piano recitals for years and never hear a note of Sibelius. Now Norwegian pianist Leif-Ove Andsnes makes an adventurous raid into Sibelius’ native Finland and want us to change that. It is not surprising that his playing is immaculately detailed and sympathetic.

The Finnish master wrote over 150 works for piano, but these works have long languished in the shadow of his orchestral music. His piano pieces were often seen as lacking in the rich, sonorous textures that the composer brought to his full orchestral works and were therefore largely disregarded. However, Sibelius was not alien to the piano and two dozen orchestral works were also written as piano versions. He also composed some 110 songs with piano accompaniment and around 50 chamber music works including the piano.

In the past, pianists such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Glenn Gould have expressed admiration for Sibelius piano compositions and now Andsnes has scoured the composer’s entire piano output, carefully selecting the pieces he believes deserve recognition and with which he feels a strong personal connection, uncovering ‘intriguing works with the wonderful Sibelius qualities we know’. Another notable mega mission is Finnish pianist Folke Gräsbeck’s Sibelius Complete Piano Music on BIS label as a part of the “The Sibelius Edition” – 68 discs in 13 thematic boxes containing all the music Jean Sibelius ever wrote,

Andsnes’ new album on SonyClassical, was recorded at the Teldex Studio in Berlin at the beginning of this year.
“There has been such a feeling of discovery”, Andsnes says. “Everyone was astonished that there can be a major composer out there with such beautiful, accessible music that people don’t know. The fact that many will be hearing it for the first time, that’s a wonderful feeling”.

In the context of Sibelius’ variable output for the piano, Andsnes has chosen his programme judiciously. Almost all the items are short impromptus, bagatelles, and descriptive mood pieces, some elegantly recalling Chopin, all of them highly enjoyable.

NEW! Click the album cover to listen to the complete album:
Andsnes plays Sibelius Piano Music
(This is a new feature available for Gold members of pianostreet.com)
Buy the CD from SonyClassical

Since copyright restrictions apply, scores for Sibelius’ piano pieces are not freely available in most countries until 2028.
For reference scores, please visit this page at imslp.


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International Piano – September/October issue

International Piano september october 2017

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!

Boris Giltburg explores how his Russian roots have deeply influenced his cultural and artistic outlook, and explains why the music of Rachmaninov never fails to move him; we catch up with pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy as he celebrates his 80th birthday; and the development of piano music and pianism in Russia in the turbulent years leading up to the October Revolution of 1917.

Also, Sam Haywood on quintessential English piano repertoire; the top university and conservatoire courses for pianists in the UK and US; how to improve rapid repeated note technique; reports from the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; and free sheet music of Franz Behr’s Turtle Dove Polka.

Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.


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Ode to Joy at the Proms 2017

Hear Igor Levit’s encore at First Night of the Proms 2017. Liszt’s piano solo version of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Beethoven theme transcribed by Liszt

Piano score to download and print:
Extract, page 45-47: Beethoven/Liszt – Theme from Symphony 9

The 9 Symphonies Transcribed by Liszt

For those interested in Liszt’s transcriptions of all nine Beethoven symphonies might also find thrill in the 19th century practices on ways to experience orchestral music without attending a symphony concert, years before the invention of recordings and piano rolls. With this in mind inspiring recordings of the Liszt versions of the symphonies have been spotted utilizing a variety of historical keyboards and performance styles. Liszt had produced a superb two-piano transcription of the Ninth, a work he often conducted. Despite his publisher Breitkopf & Härtel’s appeals, Liszt maintained that distilling the universe of Beethoven’s last symphony for one player at one instrument was impossible. In 1865 however, living in seclusion at a monastery on the Monte Mario, Liszt wrote a translation of the symphony medium to solo piano with immense craft and inspiration. The opening of the finale to the ‘Ode to Joy’ is stunningly affecting. But it is a stint preparation for the combination of rhythm, colour, pacing and unyielding musical will, describing the sublime exaltation of Beethoven’s incitement.

“Of the major Romantics, Liszt alone had a personal connection with Beethoven. A case could be made that this first-hand association would prove to be the defining event of his life. Even in old age, he continued to refer to Beethoven as his great ideal, the lodestar of his artistic universe. Liszt’s advocacy of Beethoven’s music, at a time when many of his contemporaries were either unfamiliar with or baffled by the late-period works, is a matter of historical record.
Before the earliest attempts at sound reproduction, Liszt drew on every means at his disposal to create an accurate replica, a facsimile, of works he recognised as uniquely powerful, in order that others might better know and understand an artistic legacy he loved and valued above all.”
— Patrick Rucker, Gramophone

Hear full recordings of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony transcribed by Liszt:

NEW! Click the album covers to listen to the complete albums:

(This is a new feature available for Gold members of pianostreet.com)

Read more in Piano Forum:
Have you heard the Beethoven / Liszt Symphonies (Transcriptions)
Beethoven Symphonies – Which one would you play?


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International Piano – July/August Issue

International Piano july-june 2017

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!

Canadian virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin shares his passion for rare repertoire and explains why it’s important to understand the mechanics of music; celebrating the achievements of pianist-composers; Andrew Brownell introduces his new edition of Hummel’s Concerto in A minor; and Beethoven’s mighty Hammerklavier on disc.

Plus, how to practice scales and make it enjoyable; the new technology changing the art of piano tuning; London Piano Festival marks the centenary of Russia’s 1917 revolution; why audiences are unwilling to explore unusual repertoire; and free sheet music from Christopher Norton’s Pacific Preludes.

Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.


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