As the first book of its kind, Nancy Lee Harper’s Portuguese Piano Music: An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography fills the gap in the historical record of Portuguese piano music from its start in the 18th century to the present. While although Spanish piano music is well documented owing to the reputation of such composers as Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Manuel de Falla, our knowledge of compositions in the tradition of Portuguese piano music has not fared as well, barring the work of Carlos Seixas ...
As the first book of its kind, Nancy Lee Harper’s Portuguese Piano Music: An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography fills the gap in the historical record of Portuguese piano music from its start in the 18th century to the present. While although Spanish piano music is well documented owing to the reputation of such composers as Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Manuel de Falla, our knowledge of compositions in the tradition of Portuguese piano music has not fared as well, barring the work of Carlos Seixas (1704–1742). This obscurity, however, reflects poorly on the history of early piano music in light of the many compositions written for fortepiano on behalf of the Portuguese court during the first half of the 18th century. Indeed, it was in the royal halls of King John V during his reign from 1706 to 1750 where the early fortepiano was frequently heard.
In Portuguese Piano Music, Harper explores this rich musical tradition, offering a brief introduction to the pianistic history of Portugal and overviews of Portugal’s contributions to solo piano music, piano in instrumental chamber music, piano concerti, piano for multiple pianists including with works with electronics, and didactic piano. While paying close attention to female composers, Harper adds an annotated and graded bibliography that presents readers with a comprehensive inventory of compositions. Appendixes include a selected discography, list of publishers, and other types of critical source information. To further illustrate its contents, Portuguese Piano Music contains a CD on which Harper performs representative repertoire, some of which are world premieres.
This work is aimed at pianists, teachers, pupils, musicologists, and music lovers seeking to discover the remarkable world of Portuguese piano music.
Since Scarlatti was a prolific composer of sonatas, Harper usefully lists only those works connected to his career in Portugal. . . . This volume serves as a most useful guide to Portuguese composers, including those from the Azores and Madeira as well as the mainland. Harper's introduction. . . provides a welcome overview of Portuguese history from the 1700s to the present. ... As one listens to the accompanying CD, on which the author skillfully renders a wide selection of works from the eighteenth to twenty first centuries, from sonatas to electro-acoustic compositions, one realizes just what pleasant surprises we have deprived ourselves of through our general ignorance of Portugal's musical heritage, particularly its lustrous history of keyboard music. There are many hours of listening pleasure to be gained from this repertory. . . . Harpers triune approach, embracing historical narrative, easy-to-access bibliographic information, and actual recordings, will do much to stimulate interest not only in well-established figures such as Seixas but also in less-renowned composers like Luis Pipa. . . . Nancy Lee Harper is a leader among those mapping the terrain.
This publication is the only one of its kind to deal with the subject. . . .Our thanks go to the author for making this large body of information available to all pianists and librarians. Highly recommended.
It is rare to find such an incredibly valuable research tool as Harper's book, especially when it is written by a marvelous performing artist. No intelligent musician interested in Western piano music should be without this book.
A multitalented American musician and scholar who works and lives in Portugal, Nancy Lee Harper is an associate professor at the Universidade de Aveiro in Portugal, where she has dedicated much of her career to researching, publishing, and performing Iberian music. She is editor of Tension in Performance: The ISSTIP Journal and associate editor of Piano Journal.