For more than a century the piano occupied a dominant place in music and society. Professor Ehrlich follows its fascinating history from the fortepiano of Mozart's time, through the Victorians' 'household orchestra and god', to the most sophisticated modern products of the Japanese manufacturers. His protagonists include barnstorming virtuosi, fashionable ladies and aspiring clerks, the great makers and the back-street 'garrett-masters', distinguished musicians, and hire-purchase touts. Originally published in 1976 by Dent, this book has now been updated and revised by the author in the light of developments of recent years.
`splendid volume ... remarkably complete and a formidable accomplishment. It will obviously become standard in its field.'
Journal of Economic History
`Excellent and entertaining.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Where this book will be useful to anyone in the early piano world is in its comprehensive list of makers and their dates, and to almost anyone is in its very detailed, very readable, and absorbing social history of the piano and its use in the 19th and 20th centuries... it's a must ...'
` Absorbingly interesting and easy to read.'
Music and Letters
'the book is not weighed down by learning; the account of the worldwide establishment of the piano as the most essential of all home luxuries (and its subsequent disestablishment) is continually enthralling'
`... conspicuously informative and readable volume.'
Wadham Sutton, Independent
`This book is as entertaining as it is comprehensive and informative. The hardback has become the standard work in its field and this revised paperback should reach a wide audience.'
Trevor Herbert, Western Mail
'Of the changes, one of the most important is the inclusion of a completely new preface. Here, with his customary lucidity, Ehrlich discusses the explosion in the number of Japanese pianos now on the market and the recent influx of instruments from Korea. The revised bibliography will be of considerable value to many readers.'
Elizabeth Norman Mckay, Music and Letters, Vol.72, No.1, February 1991
`What a delight it is to be required to read this book from cover to cover. Everything one expects from a history of the piano is here, written in a most lucid and readable style ... As you would expect from Oxford University Press, the book itself is well laid out and produced to a high standard.'
`The reissuing of Ehrlich's History is to be greatly welcomed. It is a delightful examply of the economic and social historian's art, combining an elucidation of business history with an understanding of technological developments and an awareness of the nuances of changing social mores ... The book radiates enthusiasm and a love of the piano.'
The Economic History Review
`This is a welcome reprint of a book which when first published in 1976 rapidly established itself as an authoritative account of the economic and social history of the piano. The book is a fine achievement and should be on the shelves of anyone at all interested in the subject.'
Kenneth Mobbs, Galpin Society Journal
Preface; Introduction; The Victorian piano; Steinway and the new technology; The emergence of Germany; The British market, 1880-1914; France; The United States; The English industry, 1870-1914; The English piano goes to war; Between the wars; Conclusion; Appendix I - A list of piano makers since 1851; Appendix II - Estimates of production; Appendix III - Exotica; Select Bibliography