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

$38.99 (C)

Part of Music since 1900

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

$ 38.99 (C)

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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 extended the aesthetic concerns of Liszt, Scriabin, and Debussy. Nonken explores shared fascinations with the musical experience, which united spectralists with their Romantic and early Modern predecessors. Examining Murail's Territioires 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'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: August 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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