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The Nocturnes are seen as 'miniature operas ... works of tremendous power' by Lederer and he reminds us of Chopin's love of the Italian operatic style. The long beautiful melodic subjects of Chopin's Nocturnes are compared to the legato arias of Bellini. Chopin was of course obsessed with the idea of legato at the piano. He would say to his students 'you must sing if you wish to play'.

The final chapter, 'The Importance of Chopin', neatly sums up all that Chopin means to Lederer and he concludes with the following statement:

'His greatness is built on the firmest musical and artistic ground. Chopin speaks clearly to us because we hear in his textural density the complexity of existence; in his drama, our struggles and tragedies; and in his lyricism, our very own joys and passions.'

The book comes with a complimentary sixteen track Naxos CD of various pieces by Chopin. Performances are by Idil Biret. All musical terminology is explained and at a compact 140 pages, I can't think of another book of this size which rivals it.

Victor Lederer is a New York based critical writer on music and other cultural issues. His reviews have appeared in the American Record Guide and on and Andante websites.

Copyright © 26 November 2007 Anthony Davie, Newcastle UK


Unlocking the Masters Series
Chopin: A Listener's Guide to the Master of the Piano

Victor Lederer

Amadeus Press, 2006
ISBN13 9 781574 671483
ISBN10 1-57467-148-0
146 pages, paperback
Includes a full-length Naxos CD

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