Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6⅜ x 9⅜
978-1-4422-6086-3 • Hardback • December 2017 • $47.00 • (£36.00)
978-1-4422-6087-0 • eBook • December 2017 • $44.50 • (£34.00)
Christine Lee Gengaro is professor of music at Los Angeles City College, where she teaches music theory, music history, and voice. An avid writer and researcher, she is a blogger and the program annotator for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She published her first book, Listening to Stanley Kubrick: The Music in His Films, with Scarecrow Press in 2013.
Series Editor Foreword
Chapter 1: The Piano Lesson
Chapter 2: Adventures Abroad
Chapter 3: Two Pianos, Four Hands
Chapter 4: The Artistic Process of the Romantic
Chapter 5: “Cannons Among the Flowers”
Chapter 6: Yours With All Devotion
Chapter 7: Chopin and the Voice
Chapter 8: Influences, Past and Contemporary
Chapter 9: Physical and Mental Health
Chapter 10: Chopin in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries
About the Author
Experiencing Chopin is one of the many volumes in "The Listener’s Companion” series, edited by Gregg Akkerman. The present volume is meant to guide nonspecialists in a meaningful foray into the music of Frédéric Chopin. Gengaro (Los Angeles City College), a historical musicologist, writes clearly and with considerable detail about Chopin’s life, loves, family, and piano compositions along with the things and people who influenced him. Very readable and engaging, the story of Chopin’s life and career unfolds in a gentle, flowing manner and gives even specialists a good refresher on this topic. Starting with an annotated time line, Gengaro intersperses discussion of specific piano works with details about Chopin’s life and work, including his teaching, his pianos, his friends, his concertizing, and his ill health. This is not a directed listening experience book with printed musical snippets and an exhaustive discography but rather a guide that suggests music to listen to and to experience. Gengaro draws references from the past and gives considerable space to more current examples of Chopin’s influence in films and video games.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.
— Choice Reviews
Gengaro’s discussion of Chopin’s pieces in easily accessible terms will help inexperienced listeners to appreciate his music . . . [her] knowledge and passion for film studies and popular culture offer a fresh insight into Chopin as a ubiquitous, multilayered, and often contradictory reference in everyday contexts, whether as a controversial film character, an inspirational force behind Bugs Bunny’s cartoons, or a video game hero.
— Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
The great pianist Arthur Rubinstein wrote that ‘Chopin was a genius of universal appeal.’ The popularity of his music – long beloved of pianists and the concert-going public – endures unabated to this day. It has proven its value time and again, impervious to criticism and the tides of fashion. Chopin has also secured an enduring foothold in popular culture and film that is rare among composers. In her account of Chopin’s turbulent life and times, Christine Lee Gengaro describes the extraordinary extent of his influence. She tells us about the composer’s friends and associates, the political climate of his times, the pianos he played, his teaching, his personal life, his ever-fragile health, and the repertoire of masterpieces he bequeathed to us all. Gengaro’s writing is engaging and suitable for readers of all levels of knowledge and musical experience.
— Matthew Bengtson, pianist and assistant professor, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Christine Lee Gengaro peels back the layers of Chopin’s life and music, offering fresh insights into his creative approach to teaching piano, his love affair with headstrong novelist George Sand, his famous friends like Schumann and Liszt, his fondness for his native Poland, and his habit of deliberating over every note he left to posterity. This is essential reading for any Chopin enthusiast.
— Lincoln Ballard, author of The Alexander Scriabin Companion