Ralph Kirkpatrick

November 2014
19 black and white illustrations
220 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580465014
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS006000, MUS050000, BIO004000

Ralph Kirkpatrick

Letters of the American Harpsichordist and Scholar

Ralph Kirkpatrick

Edited by Meredith Kirkpatrick

This collection of letters to and from the eminent harpsichordist, scholar, and early-music pioneer Ralph Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the musician from the beginning of his career in Paris in the 1930s to its end in the early 1980s.
This collection of letters to and from the eminent harpsichordist, scholar, and early-music pioneer Ralph Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the musician from the beginning of his career in Paris in the 1930s to its end in the early 1980s, offering new insights into his work and scholarship. The volume contains letters from Europe to his family as well as correspondence with harpsichord makers, performers, and composers, including Nadia Boulanger, Alexander Schneider, John Kirkpatrick, Elliott Carter, Henry Cowell, John Challis, Kenneth Gilbert, Serge Koussevitzky, and Vincent Persichetti. In addition, two former students of Kirkpatrick, the guitarist Eliot Fisk and the harpsichordist Mark Kroll, write about their experiences studying with Kirkpatrick in a foreword and an afterword. The volume also includes a bibliography of publications by and about the musician, as well as a discography.

Meredith Kirkpatrick is a librarian and bibliographer at Boston University and is the niece of Ralph Kirkpatrick.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781580468619), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Foreword: "The Glowing of Such Fire" -- A Tribute to Ralph Kirkpatrick - Eliot Fisk
Selected Letters to Family
Nadia Boulanger
Alexander Mackay-Smith
Wanda Landowska
John Challis
Serge Koussevitzky
Oliver Strunk
Roger Sessions
Harold Spivacke
Steinway & Sons
New York Times
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
John Kirkpatrick
Alexander Schneider
Otto Luening
Donald Boalch
John Hamilton
Thornton Wilder
Lincoln Kirstein
Arthur Mendel
Edward Steuremann
Frank Martin
Olin Downes
Albert Fuller
Elliott Carter
Quincy Porter
Vincent Persichetti
Henry Cowell
Mel Powell
Bengt Hambraeus
Alec Hodson
Paul Fromm
Wolfgang Zuckermann
Kenneth Gilbert
Mr. and Mrs. George Young
Colin Tilney
Oliver Daniel
Eliot Fisk
Wilton Dillon
William Dowd
Meredith Kirkpatrick
Afterword: Lessons with Kirkpatrick - Mark Kroll
Appendix A: Publications by and about Ralph Kirkpatrick
Appendix B: Ralph Kirkpatrick Discography


Fascinating, behind-the-scenes details. Provides much biographical insight. The photographs . . . are an excellent addition. Kirkpatrick's letters reveal a richness of detail that, while history from today's vantage point, shows the vibrancy of the musical world he inhabited less than a century ago. MLA NOTES

Offers fascinating insights into the life and work of a highly significant figure. The book, excellently edited and organised by Kirkpatrick's niece Meredith . . . is beautifully produced, containing many photographs of Kirkpatrick throughout his career, as well as others with whom he worked. . . . One of the most invigorating aspects of his letters is their directness; he pulls no punches...The range of subjects covered is vast, and the exchanges give every impression of being frank and honest. Kirkpatrick himself always wrote courteously, but stated his views trenchantly. . . . This book goes a long way to reaffirming Kirkpatrick's seminal role in our present-day understanding of early keyboard music. . . . A significant publication that should be read by everyone with an interest in early keyboard music especially. . . . [The letters to harpsichord builder John Challis] are full of interesting insights and repay careful study. EARLY MUSIC PERFORMER [John Kitchen]

Engrossing picture of a brilliant and passionate man working to establish a place for what he loved, against many handicaps, in a world that was barely ready. The correspondents include musical and artistic luminaries of the age, such as Nadia Boulanger, Serge Koussevitzky, Roger Sessions, Elliott Carter, [and] Thornton Wilder. EARLY MUSIC AMERICA

Goes a long way toward fleshing out our knowledge about one of the most prominent and respected figures in the 20th-century American harpsichord revival. Important correspondence with American composers Roger Sessions, Elliott Carter, Otto Luening, Quincy Porter, Vincent Persichetti, Henry Cowell, and Mel Powell, as well as Europeans Frank Martin and Bengt Hambraeus. Carefully selected and annotated. DIAPASON [Larry Palmer]

Scrupulously edited. Sympathetic yet honest appraisals by Mark Kroll and guitarist Eliot Fisk bookend a fascinating document that chronicles not just a life lived through scholarship and performance, but also a revolution that was profoundly indebted to Kirkpatrick in how we experience the music of the past. Letters to family . . . prove the most vivid. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

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