Andrew Parrott's recent book The Pursuit of Musick is an encyclopedic and generously illustrated anthology of original written sources, exploring some six hundred years of musical activity in Europe, from the first troubadours to the emergence of the pianoforte. Through this book Andrew Parrott presents an extraordinary treasure trove of material documenting myriad ways in which our recent ancestors engaged with music. This is a substantial work - the product of four decades' research. With 2,500 source entries, over five hundred images and 544 pages, it constitutes a significant contribution to how we understand music's place in society throughout history.
There's more information at taverner.org
While accompanying his daughter Eliska's journey on the piano from a young beginner to a still young advanced player, it became increasingly apparent to Classical Music Daily contributor Béla Hartmann that her fairly small hands were limiting the repertoire she could learn - not only the specific pieces but also the type of piano writing accessible to her. If an octave is not comfortably in reach there is a fairly small range of pieces that do not require too many notes to be left out, ie too many compromises that would make the piece less effective. There are certainly a fair number of baroque or earlier classical pieces that are feasible, although polyphonic writing can be very stretchy even without exceeding an octave. However the romantic, virtuoso type of piece that can utilize the huge tonal range of the modern piano is largely out of bounds.
The pieces in Béla's volume Big Pieces for Small Hands were written specifically to help younger players with small hands enjoy those exciting pianistic effects that would otherwise elude them - the big crashing chords, the huge bass sonorities, the virtuoso style that normally comes with larger hand sizes. When a young player has spent years improving technique, speeding up those scales and getting a good grasp of the keyboard they deserve to be rewarded with pieces that are hard to learn but exciting, pieces that make the most of the instrument. The pieces in this book aim to help bridge that gap until Chopin and Liszt, or Rachmaninov and Ravel become achievable.
Big Pieces for Small Hands is available from Goodmusic Publishing, catalogue number GM453, in print or as a download.
Further information: goodmusicpublishing.co.uk
Also available is Béla Hartmann's Paraphrase on a Waltz by Brahms. There's further information at belahartmann.com and a recording on YouTube.
Nimbus Music Publishing is releasing a ninety-page wire bound study score of sheet music for a piece for orchestra composed by Augusta Read Thomas with an approximate runtime of thirteen minutes. BBC Radio 3 commissioned Dance Foldings for orchestra on the Royal Albert Hall's 150th anniversary in celebration of diversity and the mission statement. The prompt was to reflect the arts and sciences as they are now. Composers were free to choose their own subject, so long as there was a clear link to the sciences or other art forms. The musical materials of Dance Foldings for orchestra, takes inspiration for its metaphors, pairings, counterpoints, foldings, forms and images from the idea of the biological 'ballet' of proteins being assembled and folded in our bodies.
Further information: wyastone.co.uk/nmp
Twenty-five-year-old Italian-German conductor Nicolo Umberto Foròn has won the 2023 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition. The competition final round can be watched on medici.tv until 23 June 2023 and there's further information at donatellaflickcompetition.com
Posted 29 April 2023 and last updated 30 April 2023 by Keith Bramich