Tony Daniel's Reviews > A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between

A Natural History of the Piano by Stuart Isacoff
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Feb 07, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: history
Read from February 10 to March 10, 2012

Delightful if a bit disjoint. It took me a while to get used to the sidebars digressions, or maybe they became more thematically spaced as the book went on, but by the end I was appreciating the sidebar portraits and glimpses Isacoff has picked out as much as his excellent and enthusiastic prose. It's an impressionistic account of the rise of the piano and not meant to be anything exhaustive, but Isacoff is so in touch with the instrument that he really hits the right notes from the absurd to the sublime. I was entertained by his earth-air-water-fire classification system for great piano players, and took it in the broad spirit that Isacoff intended, and not as anything prescriptive. Really enjoyed the book. Also a pretty book -- really enjoyed the retro design on the hardcover dust jacket.
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Reading Progress

02/10/2012 page 25
7.0% "multiple sidebars are annoying."
02/11/2012 page 35
9.0% "These dang sidebars are proving to be an impediment to getting into the flow of the book."
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