(College Park: IPAM, 2000. Softcover. xx + 235 pp.) $17.50
Jan Holcman (1922-1963) was a Polish-born pianist and scholar who emigrated to the United States in 1947. His extensive research into piano performance as documented on historic recordings generated a series of penetrating articles on such illustrious players as Hofmann, Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Rubinstein, Richter and many others. Holcman's painstaking explorations of the elements of great pianism established a remarkable critical standard in their day, and they still offer a wealth of insights into keyboard interpretation and technique. Pianists: On and Off the Record contains thirty of Holcman's essays (gathered in one volume for the first time), together with valuable additional data on early piano recordings. The book has been welcomed by practicing pianists, scholars, and pianophiles alike.
"This remarkable collection reaffirms Jan Holcman's position as one of the most perceptive critics writing at mid-century. Especially valuable are his observations on emerging Soviet pianists, the recordings of Liszt's pupils, and the labyrinth of Chopin ornamentation. The book is a must for pianists and for anyone interested in performance practices and the history of music criticism in America."
- Charles Timbrell, Professor of Music, Howard University and author of French Pianism