Review from Arches alumni magazine, Autumn 2010
For the Parlor & the Concert Stage: A Guide to Recent Collections of American Piano Music from the Classic and Romantic Eras
Keith Ward, professor of music and director of the School of Music
200 pages, paperback
Keith Ward aims to help put 18th- and 19th-century American piano music back onto the map with his bibliography of works from this period.
It is believed that the piano was first brought to North America at about the time of the American Revolution, and Ward calls the 1800s “the century of the piano.” Yet a host of talented American composers from the time are seldom performed, seldom taught, and seldom mentioned.
Ward notes in his informative introduction to the volume that a combination of factors contributed to this situation, including changing musical tastes, cultural politics, the absence of advocates, and the powers and foibles of the commercial music industry.
For the Parlor & the Concert Stage is a tool for those who would be advocates. Ward writes, “Before one can promote a repertoire, one needs to know what is available and where to start.” Aimed at scholars, teachers, performers, and students of piano, the book includes a master list of relevant composers, an analysis of collections published in the last 40 years or so, and extensive information on each collection and the pieces therein.
Through it all, Ward’s goal is not to displace the European masters from the teaching and performing canons, but to bring these great American composers of the past out of the shadows of history and back onto the concert stage and into the recital parlors where they belong.
— Greg Scheiderer