So now I am into documentaries about piano teachers/performers who leave an eternal imprint on their students and upon the world. Livia Rev is one such special person who belongs in the good company of Irena Orlov, Irina Gorin, and Rosina Lhevinne. Note the frames on Bela Bartok, and Ms. Lev’s connection to– a letter signed by Bartok to Livia. And some bravos about her teaching.
You don’t have to know Hungarian to appreciate the content of this moving profile.
I stumbled upon a you tube film about Livia two years ago: “Portrait of Lívia Rév pianist / teaching / 90th Birthday”– It showed her teaching a student in Hungarian, and in one riveting segment Lev takes her pupil’s hand and demonstrates the freedom of the supple wrist. She literally rotates the hand around, and then dips the wrist. These frames support the unconventional–they do not regale a frozen wrist or inflexible hand–Edna Golandsky, are you listening? (Taubman followers curiously rule out the “wrist break”) It’s counter-intuitive.
See the following pertinent segments in this short film that apply to piano technique and the wrist.
2:28 to 4:28 as Livia Rev is teaching
and 5:04 to 5:14 A big dip of the wrist in a technical display by the pianist, herself.
One can’t go against nature and refuse to “break” the wrist. I apologize for my over-emphasis.
About Livia at the website:
LIVIA REV (b 1916)
“Livia Rev is one of the pianistic marvels of our age. She was born 95 years ago in Budapest, Hungary. She was a child prodigy. She studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, at the Leipzig Conservatory, and at the Vienna Conservatory. She has performed the world over as a soloist with conductors of the stature of Sir Adrian Boult, André Cluytens, Jascha Horenstein, Eugen Jochum, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelík, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Constantin Silvestri, and Walter Susskind, a veritable who’s who of the great conductors of the 20th Century. She teaches, gives master classes, and is still currently playing the piano.
“In her prime, Livia Rev was one of the world’s greatest interpreters of the music of Chopin. The recordings of the 24 Preludes Opus 28 are among the finest the writer has ever heard, and as he wrote these words, he was tempted to place them at the top of his list.”
Like the writer, I favored Livia’s Chopin as exemplified in this reading: Chopin Nocturne in F Major
Even more musical ambrosia is offered in these Chopin Preludes recorded in 1988 when Livia was 74:
If there are any fluent Hungarians out there, please render a translation for the impatiently waiting Internet audience.
Livia Rev’s Official Website. She currently resides in France.