An encore tribute to Maestro Pressler caught my eye on FB’s Art of Piano Pedagogy forum. Deborah Rambo Sinn, a fine musician and teacher in her own right posted “My violinist’s interview” with the octogenarian plus ten. It was the perfect supplement to a 2012 blog that I’d dedicated to Menahem that resonates into the present.
Snips of folkore surround this elder statesman of the piano, but aside from occasional slights about his teaching etiquette and temperament, I’ve always adored Menahem Pressler’s artistry.
An “old” 1974 recording of the pianist’s Mozart’s Bb Concerto, K. 450 is an ambrosian delight. The playing is pure singing poetry permeated by impeccable phrasing. An attentive listener will imbibe music that is like fine wine.
Pressler insists that we must be “in love” with a composition we are studying or performing–to own a passion for the composer’s creation and do our utmost to realize the style, emotion, affect and nuance that was intended. By example, the pianist shows us the way.
As for the maestro’s attitude about practicing and teaching, Rambo-Sinn’s posted interview by Monique Mead is perfectly inserted here:
In the late 1960’s, as a Merrywood music camper exposed to Tanglewood’s riches, I made a weekly journey to the Chamber Music Shed to hear performances of the Budapest String Quartet and The Beaux Arts Trio of New York, among others.
On one special Wednesday in 1961, Menahem Pressler’s Trio that included Bernard Greenhouse, cello and Daniel Guilet, violin, played a program of Beethoven, Chausson, and Schubert.
The evening was made memorable not only for its inspired music-making and autographed program insert but for a spiritual essence that became my constant companion.
Though the Beaux Arts Trio is no longer, the Internet brings cherished music-making back to life in many forms:
BIO: Menahem Pressler
The Official Website, http://menahempressler.org
Does Practice Make Perfect?