A dazzling exploration of Romantic music unlike any other, from one of the most exciting writers about classical music.
Paul Kildea is a professional conductor and pianist (director of the Four Winds Festival in Australia and a former director of the Wigmore Hall in London) who writes about music with the insight of an insider. In 2013 Allen Lane/Penguin published his outstanding biography of Benjamin Britten to enormous acclaim. It is now widely recognised as the best book on its subject- the Financial Times called it 'unquestionably the music book of the year'. He lives in Berlin.
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, and
displays the kind of scholarship that does not come from simply
mugging up on a few books. ... A book that will, amongst other
things, send the reader back with fresh ears to the delightful,
tormented Pole, and hear the music he composed on a borrowed piano
in a monastery cell in Mallorca one terrible winter -- Michael
Henderson * The Times *
Chopin's Piano takes the motif of this piano - "Out of date before it was completed"; its maker Juan Bauza unknown and possibly an amateur - and uses it to tie together various narrative strands in an original, constantly interesting format. As it does it tells the story of Chopin's work, the development of piano making, and how music became inextricably linked to atrocities in the 20th century. -- Jonathan McAloon * Financial Times *
An episodic, picaresque tale, woven confidently - at times even pacily - by Kildea. He writes knowledgeably and approachably about music and sympathetically about his cast of characters. It is the story of an obsession, but it manages not to feel obsessional. ... I enjoyed it very much. -- Alan Rusbridger * Spectator *