Festival Book Club
Want to explore the Festival through literature? Would you like to interact with other piano enthusiasts in a new and exciting way? Join the Gilmore Book Club!
Starting on April 20th at 7 PM, we will meet virtually over Google Meet to discuss our chosen books, composers, and the Festival.
by Paul Kildea
April 20 at 7 PM: Book 1
May 4 at 7 PM: Book 2 – End
In November 1838, Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognised as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism – his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island (these were still early days in the evolution of the modern instrument), so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in their monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left.
This brilliant and unclassifiable book traces the history of Chopin’s 24 Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. Yet it begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which during the Second World War assumed an astonishing cultural potency as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to appropriate as their own.
The Prague Sonata
by Bradford Morrow
May 18 at 7 PM: Part I – Part II, Chapter 5
June 1 at 7 PM: Part II, Chapter 6 – End
Pages of a weathered original sonata manuscript – the gift of a Czech immigrant living in Queens – come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose career as a concert pianist was cut short by an injury. The gift comes with the request that Meta find the manuscript’s true owner – a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart – and to make the three-part sonata whole again.