A new novel of mine, The Ash Tree, has been published by West of West Books in conjunction with the April 24, 2015 centenary of the Armenian genocide; it recounts the lives of an Armenian-American family and the sweep of their history in the twentieth century - particularly from the points of view of two women in the family as it builds a new life in California.
There are three other novels of mine - one is Pathological States, about a physician's family in L.A. in 1962, which is as yet unpublished; another is Hungry Generations, about a young composer's friendship in L.A. with the family of a virtuoso pianist, published on demand by iUniverse; and Acts of Terror and Contrition - a nuclear fable - is my political novella (with eight stories) from Amazon's Createspace, about Israel and its reactions to the first Iraq War in 1990 (with the fear then that Saddam Hussein's missile bombardment might contain a nuclear weapon).
From a review of "Acts" on Amazon.com:
"At times the reader races ahead to find out the fate of the cast of characters and the fate of nations. At others the reader is stopped mid-page to consider the paradoxes of the nuclear world and the world of realpolitik. This is an important, timely book that deserves a wide audience."
For a fuller description of them, look for the relevant blog posts below or click on one of the Amazon.com links. KINDLE editions of these novels are also available.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some great performances of Beethoven's last piano sonatas and other music in HUNGRY GENERATIONS

Please see my latest posts on Beethoven and four June 2011 posts about modern music and recommended performances. Also, Beethoven appears as a character in my novel "Hungry Generations" (about the friendship between a young composer in L.A. and a great emigre virtuoso pianist in the early 70s) - an excerpt is in one of my early blog posts.

Piano Sonata No. 29 in B Flat Major (Rudolf Serkin playing the Hammerklavier Sonata);
Beethoven: Piano Works, Vol. 3 (Arthur Schnabel playing the Hammerklavier sonata); also there is Sviatoslav Richter's performance of the Hammerklavier on Praga (not the inferior alternative recordings).

For additional recommendations, look at my recent "modern music" posts 23-25. The following recordings of more modern music, along with the Beethoven below, are important to my novel Hungry Generations.
Murray Perahia Performs Béla Bartók (Piano Sonata; Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs; Suite; Out of Doors; Sonata for 2 pianos & 2 percussion) (Murray Perahia playing Bartok's Sonata)
Stravinsky: Serenade In A, Sonata / Lieberson: Bagatelles / Wolpe: Pastorale, Form IV ("Broken Sequences"), Four Studies on Basic Rows, IV: Passacaglia (Peter Serkin playing Stravinsky's Sonata)
Glenn Gould Plays Schoenberg, Berg, Webern (Gould playing Schoenberg's Suite, op. 25, etc.)
 
Also: Beethoven: The Last 3 Piano Sonatas, Nos. 30-32 (Rudolf Serkin playing the late sonatas)
Richter the Master, Vol. 1: Beethoven - Piano Sonatas (Sviatoslav Richter playing the late sonatas)
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor Op. 111 (Arthur Schnabel playing the last piano sonata)

Let me add a few more recordings of music important for my novel "Hungry Generations." There is Penderewski's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima: http://www.amazon.com/Penderecki-Anaklasis-Threnody-etc-Krzysztof/dp/B000002S5H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1296338836&sr=1-1. Also, Zimmermann's piano works: http://www.amazon.com/Zimmermann-Piano-Works-Tony-Wirtz/dp/B000CCS9B8/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1296339063&sr=1-4.

My novel's main character the aging pianist Alexander Petrov achieves some incredible effects in his performances, particularly of Schoenberg, who is one of 'the three bald geniuses' haunting the other main (and younger) character Jack Weinstein's imagination (along with Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok). The significant effects achieved by the playing of the novel's pianist Petrov are suggested by, among others, Vladimir Horowitz's incredible performances (for example, he recorded the Scriabin Sonata #3, which the son Joseph Petrov performs in the novel: http://www.amazon.com/Horowitz-Plays-Scriabin-Alexander/dp/B0000CF325/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1296340283&sr=1-2 or http://www.amazon.com/Horowitz-Plays-Scriabin-Alexander/dp/B000003EOZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1296340283&sr=1-1, which contains the third sonata). Similarly, there is Sviatoslav Richter's powerful performance, for example, of Scriabin, Debussy, and Prokofiev (with a range of sound from immensely forceful to terrifically gentle, a range akin to that imagined for Sasha Petrov): http://www.amazon.com/Scriabin-Debussy-Prokofiev-Sviatoslav-Richter/dp/B00000E3ZX/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1296340158&sr=1-5

Finally, the first recording I heard of Beethoven's late sonatas was by Egon Petri: http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Sonatas-Egon-Petri-Recital/dp/B00005Q636/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1296339508&sr=1-1

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