Reviews

  • A wonderful book about music, musicians, cultural similarities and differences, the blood and gore of revolutionary times and the compensations of high art. Kildea writes with elegance and wit, and displays the kind of scholarship that does not come from simply mugging up on a few books. ... A book that will, amongst other things, send the reader back with fresh ears to the delightful, tormented Pole, and hear the music he composed on a borrowed piano in a monastery cell in Mallorca one terrible winter

    Michael Henderson, The Times
  • Chopin's Piano takes the motif of this piano - "Out of date before it was completed"; its maker Juan Bauza unknown and possibly an amateur - and uses it to tie together various narrative strands in an original, constantly interesting format. As it does it tells the story of Chopin's work, the development of piano making, and how music became inextricably linked to atrocities in the 20th century.

    Jonathan McAloon, Financial Times
  • An episodic, picaresque tale, woven confidently - at times even pacily - by Kildea. He writes knowledgeably and approachably about music and sympathetically about his cast of characters. It is the story of an obsession, but it manages not to feel obsessional. ... I enjoyed it very much.

    Alan Rusbridger, Spectator
  • An exceptionally fine book: erudite, digressive, urbane and deeply moving.

    Michael O'Donnell, Wall Street Journal
  • The tale of a humble instrument, its story fleshed out in rich and fascinating detail. ... Kildea weaves together its many possible strands - documented and speculative - with cross-cutting virtuosity. The result is an invigorating read, brilliant for the ease with which Kildea switches between subjects, places, and even eras

    John Allison, Australian Book Review
  • Expertly and effortlessly illustrates how Landowska's trials and tribulations relate to Chopin's, a saga which redefined portions of the cultural and political history of mid-20th century. Captivating and intriguing

    Michael Thomas Barry, New York Journal of Books
  • In tracing the history of the Bauza piano and the lives of those who played it, Kildea achieves a combination of performance and reception history that makes one listen more closely to the music

    Anna Picard, Times Literary Supplement

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