The Art of French Piano Music : Debussy, Ravel, Faur?, Chabrier

The Art of French Piano Music : Debussy, Ravel, Faur?, Chabrier


An essential resource for scholars and performers, this study by a world-renowned specialist illuminates the piano music of four major French composers, in comparative and reciprocal context. Howat explores the musical language and ethos of this repertoire, juxtaposing structural analysis with editorial and performing issues. He also relates his four composers historically and stylistically to such predecessors as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, the French harpsichord school, and Russian and Spanish music.

Challenging long-held assumptions about performance practice, Howat elucidates the rhythmic vitality and invention inherent in French music. In granting Faure and Chabrier equal consideration with Debussy and Ravel, he redresses a historic imbalance and reshapes our perceptions of this entire musical tradition. Outstanding historical documentation and analysis are supported by Howat's direct references to performing traditions shaped by the composers themselves.

The book balances accessibility with scholarly and analytic rigour, combining a lifetime's scholarship with practical experience of teaching and the concert platform.

'An important work, surely destined for classic status ... Howat never preaches. He teaches. Most importantly of all, he makes you think.' Jeremy Siepmann, 'Classical Music'

'This is a book that should be snapped up by all pianists. I can only restate my real pleasure in the book and recommend it to others for its richness and range.' John York, 'Piano'

'This book is permeated by Howat's own 'Art de jouer le piano', and it also evinces his art of writerly communication. Throughout, it is suffused with directness, common sense and his gentle, sometimes ironic, very Gallic humour. If you decide to acquire a copy you will savour it for years to come.' Stephen Pruslin, 'International Record Review'

'... for all the powers of scholarship and analysis modestly displayed, the perspective is that of a supremely intelligent player.' Andrew Thomson, 'Musical Times'

Roy Howat is a concert pianist, scholar, editor, lecturer and broadcaster. He lives in London and Paris and holds the position of Keyboard Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

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