A new book is now on the horizon with a pub date of September 2014. Amadeus Press is the publisher an imprint of Hal Leonard, and the title is The Composer’s Landscape: the Pianist as Explorer, Interpreting the Scores of Eight Great Masters.The book has its roots in the series of lecture-recitals I did over the past several years at Steinway. Using “landscape” as a metaphor for “score”, the essays and explorations probe the elements that go into interpretive decisions. I am quite excited about this book. It contains everything I have ever thought or learned or experienced about Interpretation, and will also include excerpts from past interviews I did with world-famous artists, when I was Senior Editor of Clavier magazine for fifteen years. So these discussions support and supplement my own ideas, coming together into what I hope will be a rich compilation and source for pianists, students, and teachers.
In addition, I have been fortunate to receive permissions and rights to present intermittent pages throughout the book, from autograph manuscripts by these great composers,– attractive and elucidating resources, not to mention being items of beauty and reverence.
I had thought the Venice book would have been my last, or certainly the second chronicle written on the occasion of my return to Weill Hall to celebrate a big birthday with another piano recital. But then came the lecture series, with material that almost formed itself into chapters, and then came a constant stream of ideas to add to these lectures. This book, my seventh, will also contain a CD of my live performances of shorter works by each of the eight composers, which required challenges of its own–selections, audio engineering to equalize the sound between various halls, pianos, events, and so on.
And so, I guess it will always be for me: first the conviction and intention of embarking on no further projects, then the glimmer of a new idea, then the seduction of the work itself (by far the best part!), and then the realization. Such is my creative life, and no doubt, such it will continue to be.
—I wrote this following piece a year ago, and forgot to post it. But as it is relevant to being a writer, and the feelings attached to that, I will add now.
I wrote my Venice book (A Pianist’s Journal in Venice) because I had a hundred watercolors I had dashed off in my travel journal in a heightened state while we were there, and many scribbled impressions, episodes, and a heckuva tale to tell. I have since given several musical programs based around the book, most notably the one at Steinway Hall in New York City, complete with Venetian masques, Italian pastries and prosecco.
It was a spectacular evening in that great landmark building with its elegant salon, equal to any I saw in Venice.
And then it was over, except for a couple of less elegant events and book signings and sales, and the listing on Amazon. I never expected much more to happen; I never market any of my books, or paintings, or CDs, aggressively; and thus I have gotten used to a certain lack of recognition and distribution for work, that I believe is pretty well-done. In fact, as time passes, I realize that the best part of what I do and have done for so many years, is the work itself and I have gotten less “ambitious”, less interested in “fame”, (although “fortune” would be nice!!).
And so it is with sheer delight and surprise, that I have been treated to the spread that the magazine Clavier Companion has given to my book. In their January issue, Susan Geffen wrote a lovely review, and then “interviewed” me on the blog of the online edition of the magazine:
They also reproduced a few watercolors from the book which are linked onto the interview and review.
Having scaled down my expectations, the occasional burst of acknowledgement really feels good.