266 pages | 43 B/W Illus.
In this book, Julian Hellaby presents a detailed study of English piano playing and career management as it was in the middle years of the twentieth century. Making regular comparisons with early twenty-first-century practice, the author examines career-launching mechanisms, such as auditions and competitions, and investigates available means of career sustenance, including artist management, publicity outlets, recital and concerto work, broadcasts, recordings and media reviews. Additionally, Hellaby considers whether a mid-twentieth-century school of English piano playing may be identified and, if so, whether it has lasted into the early decades of the twenty-first century. The author concludes with an appraisal of the state of English pianism in recent years and raises questions about its future. Drawing on extensive research from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, this book is structured around case-studies of six pianists who were commencing and then developing their careers between approximately 1935 and 1970. The professional lives and playing styles of Malcolm Binns, Peter Katin, Moura Lympany, Denis Matthews, Valerie Tryon and David Wilde are examined, and telling comparisons are made between the state of affairs then and that of more recent times.
Engagingly written, the book is likely to appeal to professional and amateur pianists, piano teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate music students, academics and anyone with an interest in the history of pianists, piano performance and music performance history in general.
The Mid-Twentieth-Century Concert Pianist is a very informative, well-written book, accessible and engaging to anyone interested in music and piano, as well as an excellent guide to someone wanting to become a concert pianist or looking to sustain a successful career as such.
Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb
Part One – Introduction And Background 1. Introduction 2. Musical Life In Mid-Twentieth-Century England Part Two – Career Development And Sustenance 3. Getting Started In The Profession 4. Sustaining A Career (1) – Management And Promotion 5. Sustaining A Career (2) – The Working Pianist Part Three – Performance Practice 6. Pedagogical Influences 7. In Search Of An English School Of Pianism 8. Closing Thoughts