The word "competition" in the realm of music-making doesn't work for me. Those who serve the poetry of music and view technique, not as athletically driven, but as a means to a higher artistic end can be offended by glitzy, media-hyped productions that show young Asian, American, Russian, etc. flowers of youth posing for thumbnail… Continue reading Piano “Competitions”–Do we need them?
The high point of my trip to NYC was inhabiting a paradise of pianos on "piano row." That's what they call "West 58th" between Broadway and 7th Avenue. In the imposing shadow of Carnegie Hall that envelops the neighborhood, Klavierhaus manages to retain its unique character amidst a glut of piano restorers such as Beethovens… Continue reading The premier piano “haus” on W. 58th!
(The above manuscript is sourced from Rada Bukhman's Discovering Color Behind the Keys: The Essence of the Russian School of Piano Playing) http://youtu.be/xfiO7uXk9CM "Waltz" is a charming composition worth every bit of baby-step practicing. While it looks easy on the surface, the pedaling carefully noted by the composer, is a significant challenge. It does not… Continue reading Another musical treasure by Samuel Maykapar
Native Russian, Samuel Maykapar (b.1867, d. 1938) composed a set of gorgeous, program-inspired pieces, that are carefully phrased, articulated, and fingered. The music is ear-catching in the spirit of Dimitri Kabalevsky and William Gillock as all three composers were highly expressive and imaginative within a pedagogical framing. Maykapar aims to teach an ebullient, crisp staccato… Continue reading A Russian composer’s colorful pieces with a strong teaching dimension
A timely posting in advance of my Big Apple touchdown
I always ponder the process of learning a new piece and how I want to experience and re-experience a freshness that seems to come with my earliest exposure to the printed page. As I set out my fingering, isolate lines or voices, in a Bach Three Part invention, for example, or even within the Adagio… Continue reading Capturing the first sunrise in our practicing and performing
Rada Bukhman, a Vancouver-based piano teacher with native Russian roots, has produced a 212-page soft cover volume that entices with its interspersed selections of compositions at various learning levels. The text offers a variety of fascinating topics, "Developing Initial Musical Skills: on the Nature and Development of a Musical Ear, on Rhythm, Preparatory Stage, Sight-Reading"… Continue reading An interview with Rada Bukhman, pianist, teacher, author, about the “Russian School of Piano Playing”
The Sinfonia in F minor is a tour de force work of art, perhaps evocative of the composer's Musical Offering in its strikingly atonal sections. Yet there are definitive cadences in Major and minor keys that occur at the terminus of tonally ambiguous tunnels. Bach wrote a preface to the two and THREE Part Inventions… Continue reading J.S. Bach and blurred tonality (learning the three-part Invention or Sinfonia in F minor, BWV 795)
Burmguller's "Sincerity," Op. 100 is the perfect vehicle for spinning limpidly beautiful phrases. But how does the pianist go beyond what appears to be strings of 8th notes that can easily sound typed out. To avoid the ponderous, vertical approach to these semi-quavers, a set of baby-step preliminaries can nurse along a heartfelt, well-"shaped" musical… Continue reading Artful piano playing: Rising above the notes by “feeling,” singing, and “shaping” phrases
As pianists, we're allied to opera singers and their creative process in more ways than we think.