Gradus Ad Parnassum

How neglectful of David Dubai not to write the great book on the piano, especially considering what a fine position he was in to do so! So let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first, before reviewing the merits of his study.

The Art of the Piano is internally divided against itself in more than one way. It's halved between "The Pianists" and "The Piano Literature With Lists of Exceptional Recordings," while the second half is itself halved by a subdivision that segregates major from minor composers. In addition, the halves aren't attuned to each other—or perhaps I should say that too often the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. When Grieg's Concerto in A minor is cited, the recording by Leon Fleisher and the Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell conducting, is mentioned, as it must be. But the flip side of that disc—an even better reading of the Schumann Concerto in the same key by the same artists—doesn't show up as it unquestionably should under "Schumann." Neither is one of Alfred Cortot's recordings of Schumann's concerto cited, though back in the first half we find (under "Cortot") four versions as well as three different Carnavals, none cited back again in the second half under "Schumann."

This sort of thing happens too often. Edwin Fischer's recording of Bach's...

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