From Paris to Peoria

From Paris to Peoria : How European Piano Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland

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Grand Tours is a chronicle of the American visits of five charismatic pianists-Leopold de Meyer, Henri Herz, Sigismund Thalberg, Anton Rubenstein, and Hans von Bulow-during the late nineteenth century. Performing Beethoven and Chopin in gold-rush era California, these pianists introduced many Americans to the delights of the concert hall. With humor and insight, Lott describes the clash between the flamboyant, elegant, European pianists and American audiences more accustomed to circuses and rodeos than these "serious" entertainments. Lott also explores the creative and sometimes outlandish publicity techniques of managers seeking to capitalize on rich but uncharted American markets. The tours, which included almost a thousand concerts in more than one hundred cities in America and Canada, illustrate the rigors of the performing life, the wide range of nineteenth-century audiences and their gradual transformation from boisterous participators to respectful listeners, and the establishment of the piano recital as it exists today. With the colorful personalities of the pianists, the juxtaposition of high art and unsophisticated audiences, and the predilection of Americans to treat even the most serious subjects with humor, the book is illuminating and entertaining. The text is illustrated with ads, newspaper clippings, and correspondence that bring to life this collision of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 382 pages
  • 163.6 x 242.8 x 28.7mm | 680.4g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous halftones and music examples
  • 0195148835
  • 9780195148831
  • 1,727,135

Review quote

... grateful scholars of the New World appropriation of Old World music will profit - immeasurably - from Lott's industry and discernment. * Los Angeles Times * Throughout From Paris to Peoria, records of successive tours are skilfully framed within a broader context of the nation's receptivity to foreign artists, its enduring obsession with the famous, and the growth of indigenous culture of piano virtuosity. * Times Literary Supplement * Lott provides insightful comments ... [he] also provides considerable information about the social conditions and attitudes of mid-nineteenth-century America, in particular in regard to the arts ... Lott's study is meticulously researched, finely crafted, and written in an easy-flowing, straightforward style. * The Journal of American History *show more

About R. Allen Lott

R. Allen Lott is Professor of Music History in the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texasshow more

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