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The Spectral Piano
From Liszt, Scriabin, and Debussy to the Digital Age

AUD$41.95 inc GST

Part of Music since 1900

Hugues Dufourt
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316616413

AUD$ 41.95 inc GST

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About the Authors
  • The most influential compositional movement of the past fifty years, spectralism was informed by digital technology but also extended the aesthetics of pianist-composers such as Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin and Claude Debussy. Students of Olivier Messiaen such as Tristan Murail and Gérard Grisey sought to create a cooperative committed to exploring the evolution of timbre in time as a basis for the musical experience. In The Spectral Piano, Marilyn Nonken shows how the spectral attitude was influenced by developments in technology but also continued a tradition of performative and compositional virtuosity. Nonken explores shared fascinations with the musical experience, which united spectralists with their Romantic and early Modern predecessors. Examining Murail's Territoires de l'oubli, Jonathan Harvey's Tombeau de Messiaen, Joshua Fineberg's Veils, and Edmund Campion's A Complete Wealth of Time, she reveals how spectral concerns relate not only to the past but also to contemporary developments in philosophical aesthetics.

    • Reveals how the spectral attitude towards the piano and its performance practice is an extension of Romantic virtuosity, as pioneered by Franz Liszt
    • Introduces an ecological approach to musical perception to show how spectral composers' interests in acoustics, psychology and ecology were shared by late Romantics
    • Includes a discography and the first comprehensive list of contemporary piano compositions by spectral composers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Marilyn Nonken belongs to a generation of new music performers who bring subtlety, nuance and even humour to complex music; hers is the leading recording of the piano music of Tristan Murail, who is one of the composers featured in her new book, The Spectral [Piano]. A great value of Dr Nonken's study is that she sets the Spectral movement in a wide historical context, going back indeed to Liszt and Scriabin; another that she demonstrates the influence of Murail and Gérard Grisey (together with their teacher Messiaen) on composers beyond France, arguing convincingly for the far-reaching influence and implications of Spectral concerns. What is particularly welcome is that here is a scholar whose writing carries particular authority, based as it is on her experience of understanding and communicating the music as its performer.' Peter Hill, University of Sheffield

    'Marilyn Nonken's new book on spectral music for the piano is a screaming success … Few books can boast as much, and it is gratifying to encounter an international concert performer who can make so engaging a discourse around her core repertoire.' Bob Gilmore, Tempo

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316616413
    • length: 210 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 21 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. An intimate history
    2. Itinerary
    3. Protospectralists at the piano
    4. The first generation
    5. The spectral effect
    6. Spectral music and its pianistic expression Hugues Dufourt.

  • Author

    Marilyn Nonken, New York University
    Marilyn Nonken is an international concertizing pianist, Associate Professor of Music and Music Education, and Director of Piano Studies at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Her recordings and performances have been internationally reviewed, and her publications include forthcoming chapters in Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music and Messiaen Perspectives. A highly regarded musician, she has recorded the complete piano music of Tristan Murail: 'Complete Piano Music', and 'Voix Voilees: Spectral Piano Music', and piano music of Olivier Messiaen, Hugues Dufourt and Joshua Fineberg, and worked closely with Murail, Dufourt, Fineberg and Jonathan Harvey.


    Hugues Dufourt

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