Piano Lessons: A Memoir

Anna Goldsworthy, Author
Anna Goldsworthy, St. Martin's, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-64628-8
Reviewed on: 08/16/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Hardcover - 243 pages - 978-1-86395-443-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-86395-535-5
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-4929-3
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Australian pianist Goldsworthy was nine years old when she began instruction with the renowned Russian pianist Eleonora Sivan, now relocated to Adelaide. Their pupil-master relationship grew and deepened over the next decade, rendered here in serene, clear, elegant prose, as Goldsworthy, the child of two doctors and musicians, blossomed into a stunning stage force and a vessel of Sivan's deeply intuitive music instruction. Over her meticulous stages of instruction, Sivan took on each composer in turn—Bach was like God, she noted, offering "peace, of course, and bells," while Mozart was like Midas, "every sound he touches turns into song"—and Goldsworthy tidily arranges her memoir according to their embarking on these composers' works, from Shostakovich to Liszt. At first Sivan did not believe that Goldsworthy had the "emotional freedom" to be a concert pianist. However, the youth proved her wrong by incorporating her teacher's radiant artistry and coming to feel the joy of playing. Moreover, after earning top prizes and attaining her dream of playing a Beethoven concerto with a full orchestra, Goldsworthy returned the gift of music by teaching, as per Sivan's ministrations, and composing to her teacher this rich, heartfelt tribute. (Oct.)
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