Beethoven's French piano : a tale of ambition and frustration /

Publication Type:



Beghin, Tom,


The University of Chicago Press,, Chicago, United States, p.xxi, 410 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : (2022)

Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst01063372, (OCoLC)fst01063403, 19e siècle, 19e siècle., 19th century, 19th century., bisacsh, Exécution, fast, Histoire et critique., History and criticism., MUSIC / History & Criticism., Performance, Performance., Piano, Piano music, Piano music., Piano, Musique de


Includes bibliographical references (pages 389-399) and index."In this book, Tom Beghin examines the French piano Beethoven famously acquired from the Erard firm in Paris in 1803. The Erard piano is one of only three extant instruments belonging to Beethoven and is housed in a museum in Austria. Beghin argues that the piano sonatas Beethoven composed between 1803 and 1810-including the "Waldstein" and the "Appassionata"-show the influence of the new French style of pianism and of the Erard in particular, specifically in the uses of tremolo, legato, and the "una corda" pedal, which softens dramatically the volume. Beghin shows that Beethoven was guided by a search for new sonorities and that the specific "touch" provided by the Erard's technology helped to point him toward new compositional horizons, especially at a time when he was forced to withdraw from performance due to his increasing deafness. The book combines informed historical analysis of the musical milieus in Vienna and Paris with the author's own experiments at the keyboard in order to reconstruct the specific techniques that Beethoven was exploiting and the ways they translated into his innovative piano writing"--Introduction: Parallel tales -- 1. Aspirations and entanglements -- Vignette 1. The letter / by Tilman Skowroneck -- 2. The psychology of waiting -- 3. Malleability of tone -- 4. The lure of una corda -- Vignette 2. Two visitors in Paris / with Robin Blanton, Michael Pecak, and Tilman Skowroneck -- 5. The perfect instrument -- 6. An unlikely competitor -- 7. Continuous sound -- Vignette 3. A gift not given / with Robin Blanton -- 8. The vertical/horizontal paradox -- 9. A grand sonata -- 10. A prize-winning teacher -- Vignette 4. Building a replica / Chris Maene in conversation with Robin Blanton -- 11. Revisiting the revisions -- 12. Mixing sound -- Epilogue: Time and resonance -- Appendix A. Beethoven's Erard : a timeline -- Appendix B. Op. 53, 54, and 57 : a timeline.Copy in McGill Library's Marvin Duchow Music Library: donated in 2022 by the author.