4000 Miles by Amy Herzog, After the Revolution by Amy Herzog, Amy Herzog, Beethoven, Fur Elise by Beethoven, Joe Josephs, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Leepee Joseph, Lincoln Center, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, New York, New York City, Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, The Weavers, Uncategorized, West Village of New York

After the Revolution is my cousin, Amy Herzog’s tour de force play. (An Aurora Theatre Berkeley production)

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Amy Herzog is regaled as one of the most gifted young playwrights of her generation. Not only has she been a recipient of the well-regarded Lillian Hellman prize, but she’s amassed a slew of New York Times rave reviews.

Charles Isherwood, Arts editor, lauded After the Revolution in a generous media spread that wove in OUR family’s fervently political fabric (The cast of characters, includes Amy’s late grandmother, and my aunt “Leepee,” (aka “VERA JOSEPH”) pictured in the header; her second husband, Joe Josephs, who’s the play’s driving force, and various kin that weave in and out of the drama.

Though deceased, Josephs has left a trail of speculation about his controversial espionage involvement during World War II.

The disclosure comes in a media release which opens a Pandora’s box of doubt and deception, shaking the very foundation of respect and unconditional love for a parent.

As the plot unfolds, a conflict-driven drama embeds a three-generation split.

Isherwood elaborates

http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/theater/reviews/11after.html?pagewanted=all

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The Back Story (from a child’s perspective—MINE)

I knew and loved Joe Joseph. He replaced my beloved uncle Arthur Herzog, (Leepee’s first husband) who collaborated with Billie Holiday to produce the song, “God Bless the Child.” Arthur and Leepee, parents of Gregory Herzog, (my first cousin) divorced in the 1950s, well before Leepee met and married J.J. Joseph in a Unitarian ceremony presided over by the Reverend Donald Harrington. (I was present at the Greenwich Village apartment)

Joe played the violin, (not deftly) but managed to convene a Baroque chamber trio, inviting me in as pianist alongside step-son, Gregory who played the oboe. I rendered the Continuo part on a Baldwin grand, while Joe scratched along.

Though our collective music-making precluded a mix of MUSIC and Politics, Joe would nourish audibly loud dinner table conversation, permeated by non-stop Dialectical babbling. (the “-ism suffixes attached to Stalin-, Lenin-, Bolshev- were DIZZYING!)

Joe Joseph front view

Years before these chamber music convergences, Greg had become my pianistic inspiration as he belted out Beethoven’s “Rage of a Lost Penny,” and then shifted mood, rendering a gorgeous Chopin e minor Prelude.

better Gregory Herzog playing the piano, my inspiration

Greg’s Prelude playing, especially, seeded my love for music that eventually grew and developed over decades.

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More about Greg’s mom, Aunt Leepee

An expressive Villager piece about my auntie enlarges the the meaning of After the Revolution by enriching the landscape in political, ideological and human terms.

Dissidence and Drama have filled her life

http://www.thevillager.com/villager_226/dissidenceanddramahave.html

This poetically woven writing fleshes out my aunt as more than a rabble-rousing militant. At her memorial service in NYC she was characterized as “a work of art.” I experienced her as nurturant and loving.

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The RED DIAPER BABY BACKDROP as applied to me

On a personal note, I’ve never been a Marxist, but was unreasonably indoctrinated as a child, having no ability to question what I was spoon-fed. Though my diapers lacked a hammer and sickle, I was still a Soviet propaganda puppet.

Amy, to the contrary was of a younger generation, and remained a keen observer of her grandparents’ idealism.
***

In a televised interview about Revolution, Herzog discussed their Marxist devotion in the context of an embrace of “religion.” Perhaps she meant to HUMANIZE families and not pin psycho-pathologies on them.

Finally, no matter how my family or any other will be perceived before Amy Herzog’s script comes to LIFE on stage, a jaunt to Aurora is worth an afternoon or evening’s escape from the blaring TV. Perhaps it’s better to watch families resolve their conflicts with a dose of compassion and forgiveness than blame them for political differences.

(As a footnote to this writing, I wanted to meet director, Joy Carlin, but her industrious devotion to directing precluded a face-to-face conversation. Maybe the PR people in the box office can snatch her from the set for a short coffee break)

Aurora Theatre Box Office information
After the Revolution starts its run on Aug. 30, 2013
TEL: 510-843-4822

https://www.auroratheatre.org/index.php?option=com_theatre&view=show&id=31

LINK: My family’s Genealogy

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/little-apple-big-apple-mayhem-murder-and-music-my-familys-history-and-genealogy/

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Piano Instruction: Practicing the “windy” chromatic scale of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”

After a stream of graceful arpeggiated triplets, a “windy” sounding, descending chromatic scale leads artfully back to the opening theme that concludes “Fur Elise.”

The traditional chromatic fingering I’ve inserted in the score corresponds to the 1/2-step sequence beginning on Bb: Black/white, Black/white Black/White/White etc. 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 1 etc.

Video Instruction

Through a lesson-in-progress with an adult student, I fleshed out ways to phrase, shape, and smooth out these referenced measures permeated by rolling triplet figures.(79-85)

LINK:

http://www.powhow.com/classes/shirley-kirsten

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Beethoven’s Fur Elise with orchestra? or without (Videos)

During the night, I stumbled upon a piano solo with orchestra arrangement of “Fur Elise” that included a set of nuanced special effects. First, the pianist, nonchalantly flowed into the first theme to a stream applause, reminding me of the time I played this same piece without embellishment in the dining hall of Fig Garden Retirement.

With no smiling orchestra members surrounding me, I was squeezed into a tight space, drowned out by cranky residents who complained about digital piano volume levels.

It was nothing like the smoothly-staged you tube performance of Beethoven’s treasure that seemed rehearsed to finite detail.

I noted the broken E octaves in the opening section, with an animated conductor gathering the forces of nature under his sprightly baton.

Was this a Grieg transcription with a counterpoint of clarinet, nasal oboe, strings, and triangle? (It was phrased in twos, if you will, with a few chirping birds needed for added effect)

In the midst of this serene musical forest, the pianist played, but where were the seven dwarfs and Snow White?

Compare to what Beethoven had intended, minus a green bag of Trader Joe Pine Litter that was shabbily left on the set.

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RELATED:

Mystical Journey–Relax Music at Georgii Tcherkin’s You Tube Channel-He presents solo and orchestra arrangements of the “Moonlight” Sonata.

http://www.youtube.com/user/tcherkin?ob=0&feature=results_main

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Irina Morozova’s inspiring words flow through a lesson with an adult student (Beethoven’s Fur Elise-in-progress) Video

“From watching great pianists it is obvious that they incorporate quite different movements to achieve the same goals, because people do not play piano with fingers but rather with the mind and the ear. Again, it is the clear image of what kind of sound one wants to achieve, combined with the knowledge of how to get it….”

To frame a lesson with these ideas, helps to infuse it with the spiritual, analytical, and nonverbal elements of exchange.

Within this paradigm, one of my adult students continued her study of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” (C section, treble chord voicing with bass tremolo)

LINK:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/pianist-irina-morozova-blends-a-satisfying-career-of-teaching-and-performing-videos/

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Piano Lesson: An adult student continues her Beethoven “Fur Elise” learning process (Video)

These are excerpts from today’s lesson where we covered:

1. Broken chord blocking; refreshing inversions of the Tonic as applied to practicing Fur Elise.

2. Voice balancing: fleshing out the treble (soprano) melody, on page 2 (F Major section) Using supple wrist and hand rotation; relaxation of arms.

3. C section–with repeated bass notes, alternating fingers, against, thread of melody woven through chords in the treble.

Paint brush stroke motion for Left Hand repeated note patterns.

Prior adult student lesson-in-progress links to Fur Elise by Beethoven

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/when-the-piano-teacher-is-absent-between-lessons-a-you-tube-video-can-fill-in-the-gap-fur-elise-and-chord-voicing/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/piano-instruction-fur-elise-by-beethoven-video/

OTHER Instruction:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/piano-instruction-fur-elise-by-beethoven-video/

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When the piano teacher is absent between lessons, a You Tube video can fill in the gap (Fur Elise and chord voicing)

Lately, students have benefited from receiving supplemental video instruction during the interval between their weekly lessons.

By videotaping parts of their sessions and uploading to You Tube, they can often make their daily practice time more efficient.

Today, for example, I tilted my iMac so it focused on my piano, which is the Steinway upright located beside the grand where an adult student sat.

During the week my pupil will have an up close examination of voicing chords in the C section of Beethoven’s Fur Elise.

In the first segment, we worked on the physical means to flesh out a resonating melody through various sonorities. (measures 62-65) Beautiful phrasing and observance of dynamics were integrated into our focused musical exploration.

Part 2, covered measures 66-73. (Right Hand)

This pupil has been studying with me for five years and during that time has made considerable progress. You Tubing as an adjunct to piano instruction has been especially helpful.

Part 1

Part 2