Describing some remarkable moments in musical history, De Waal presents a candid overview of the historical developments surrounding the piano transcription. He explains how the genre fell from acclaim into disrepute, and lately seems to regain the rightful respect it deserves. But more than this, he provides deep-felt musical insight into what matters most: why are some piano transcriptions so good, and how do man and machine act together to make this so? The theme of the book is the piano transcription, but Metamorphoses is equally about change, possession, perception, respect, genius, transcendence, and ultimately, about human dignity.
“Rian de Waal illuminates the rather dark area of the keyboard literature known as transcriptions with penetrating gaze and insight. He shows his reader both the breadth and the depth of his subject across time, reckons surely with the dated concepts which have hindered pianists from exploring this repertoire, and argues for the purely esthetic value of the genre. This is a book of great interest for all who love the piano.” – Frank Cooper, Research Professor Emeritus of Musicology, University of Miami, USA
“This book is a long-overdue exploration of the field of Romantic piano transcriptions and paraphrases. The late Rian de Waal, a superb advocate for this repertoire, discusses the historical, aesthetic, and pianistic elements of these unique works with clarity and insight. His work should be read by all serious pianists and musical historians.” – Donald Manildi, Curator, International Piano Archives, University of Maryland, USA