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Analyses of 101 Classical Music Masterpieces


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About the Author

Raymond J. Valente was born in 1932 in a small blue collar town about 30 miles' south-west of Boston. He is a first generation American of immigrant Italian parents. In the spring of 1944 the parents obtained an old upright theatrical piano that was in great need of major repairs, and with some efforts, became playable and was placed in the garage. At age 12 Mr. Valente began taking piano lessons and was very dedicated and never complained about having to practice in the garage. Spring, summer and fall were manageable but the cold New England winters were difficult. In order to practice in the winter, he wore a heavy coat, hat, hood, gloves with cut off fingers and a kerosene space heater placed next to the piano. The issue of toxic fumes from burning kerosene was never addressed. His commitment and dedication to the piano allowed him to overcome many obstacles; nothing could keep him from practicing. Three years later a used upright piano, which replaced the original one, was placed in the house. Mr. Valente took piano lessons for 22 years from various instructors and during the last 10 years he studied privately with George Cohen, a gifted Boston pianist, teacher, coach and mentor to whom much credit is given for Mr. Valente accomplishment as a classical pianist. Mr. Valente received degrees in music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and advanced degree from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a performer, educator, piano instructor and an expert at analyzing classical pieces in great detail, without the aid of scores, visual aids or electronic devices. For the past twenty five years he dedicated himself almost entirely to the analysis, second by second, of the great classical pieces and documented them as to how they were composed. His only tools are his musical knowledge, a CD, a CD player, head phones, paper and pen. His ability to accomplish this complex fete is a reflection of his extensive fund of musical knowledge. Mr. Valente continues to live in Milford, Massachusetts, his birthplace.

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