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02. Malcolm Bilson, Music

Malcolm BilsonKnowing the Score (Cornell University Press, 2005). Music performers, music scholars, and music lovers could learn more about getting the best from a classical music score. Bilson’s DVD shows how. Using the notation of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev, Schubert, and Bartók, Bilson illustrates that there is more expressive information in the scores than one usually presumes. This 90-minute DVD presents a public lecture at which Bilson examines the reading of the texts punctuated with excerpts of Bilson playing a five-octave eighteenth-century Viennese piano and a modern Steinway. He challenges some widely accepted notions of articulation, tempo, and pedaling. The DVD also features an interview with pianist David Owen Norris using several early pianos and discussing diverse topics such as the differences between English and Viennese pianos around 1800 and fingering and bowings in urtext editions. Pianist Stephen Hough hails the project as “an extraordinarily stimulating DVD raising and answering all kinds of questions about how we read and listen to music and how composers transmit their message through both the written text and the instruments on which they played.”

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