Claudio Arrau, J.S. Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, piano technique

Piano Technique: Shaking out Bach Ornaments! and the influence of Claudio Arrau

When working on executing ornaments with an adult student as they appear in J.S. Bach’s Prelude in F minor, I thought instantly of Claudio Arrau’s allusions to “shaking” these out, without having a thread of tension in the arms, wrists, and hands. One of his biographers, Joseph Horowitz, profiled the pianist in an extensive interview that drew out many of the virtuoso’s ideas about technique, of which ornaments were a particular focus. (Conversations with Arrau)

A central aspect of Arrau’s playing is arm weight technique as taught to him my Martin Krause: “Relax and let loose, never be stiff of cramped in any joint. Krause even recommended that pianists should engage in sports.”

It was no surprise that I had for years integrated the whole arm, “shake” out recommendation as it permeated Arrau’s teaching, and related it to playing long trills. (in Mozart sonatas, concerti, etc.), and then through years of studying the Classical repertoire, along with Baroque and Romantic era compositions, I drew upon Arrau’s resonating quotes, to unkink my Bach ornaments, freeing them of tension.

Rather than dissect the physical ingredients of the SHAKE ’em out approach to ornaments as they appear in J.S. Bach’s F minor Prelude, BWV. 881, I decided to let a lesson video illustrate the main points.

P.S. As it happens, one of Arrau’s proteges via his assistant, Rafael De Silva, was Ena Bronstein, who perhaps influenced MY SHAKE IT OUT, FREE THROW, ARM LOOSE, WRIST SUPPLE, ORNAMENT GRAPPLE. She was my teacher in Fresno, California for about a year before relocating to Princeton, New Jersey.

The following sources contain Arrau’s ideas about piano technique:

Piano Lessons with Claudio Arrau: A Guide to his Philosophy and Techniques by Victoria A. Von Arx. A book preview is found via the link below.
https://books.google.com/books?id=LGOMAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT141&lpg=PT141&dq=Claudio+arrau+on+trills&source=bl&ots=Lh77NME2Im&sig=DkZ0hWCAxBlFpzj5_3l0tijzo7A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwizl-bXhNvLAhUI82MKHehQB8MQ6AEILTAD#v=onepage&q=Claudio%20arrau%20on%20trills&f=false

By the same author from her Dissertation: The Teaching of Claudia Arrau and his Pupils: Piano Pedagogy as a Cultural Work (2006)

https://books.google.com/books?id=T8vOlfQyq3sC&pg=PA85&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

“Arrau explained relaxation as avoidance of stiffening within the joints that impair the body’s ability to move freely. Freedom of motion would allow the realization of musical impulse, the transmission of musical intentions through the body to the keyboard. The freer there body, the more the piano would be experienced as an extension of the player’s body, converting musical impulses into sound.”

Essentially Arrau “expressed the importance of experiencing mind and body as an integrated whole.” (There’s a substantial section on the maestro’s “Piano Technique” that’s easily accessed within the Von Arx Dissertation.)

LINK:

Conversations with Arrau
Conversations with Arrau
http://www.amazon.com/Conversations-With-Arrau-Joseph-Horowitz/dp/0879100133

duo pianists, Josef Lhevinne, Rosina Lhevinne, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, Shirley Smth Kirsten, word press, you tube, youtube.com

Husband and wife pianists I have known and their legacy

This week’s practicing and You Tubing hearkened back to my student days in New York City. Lillian Lefkofsky Freundlich was my Rosina Lhevinne. She, like her Russian counterpart, was married to a high profile husband, Irwin Freundlich who doubled as her 4-hand piano partner.

When Irwin passed away in his late 60s quite suddenly, as had Josef Lhevinne at about the same age, Lillian, came into her own as the great teacher she had been all along though she’d been otherwise hidden in the shadow of her spouse.

freundlich

Ena Bronstein, another powerful mentor of mine, was married to her duo partner, Philip Lorenz. Both were Arrau students, and Philip had edited the Beethoven sonatas with Arrau giving him his 15 minutes of fame. But Ena was the more expressive pianist though she dealt with second tier status until the marriage dissolved.

ena

Back to Lillian, my most influential piano teacher…

It just so happened that after watching the riveting documentary about the legacy of Rosina Lhevinne, I pulled up three works Lillian gave me to study at about age 15: Mozart’s Sonata in G, K. 283; the Chopin Nocturnes in Bb minor, Op. 9, No. 1 and E minor, Op. 72 no. 1.

The Chopin E minor had always been a sleepy piece, until I woke up to the burst of passion that Rubinstein and Ashkenazi delivered in their readings tempered by tasteful rubato.

As a reminder to myself, Andante in Italian meant walking and not at a snail’s pace.

Lillian Freundlich had selected the perfect Andante and Larghetto in Chopin’s vernacular that begged for a singing tone and fluid phrasing.

With Mozart’s Sonata, she focused on the operatic dimension of the composer’s works, singing throughout my lesson.

Finally, a musical retrospective that’s framed with Rosina Lhevinne’s inspiring words.

Rosina and Josef Lhevinne

“…discover the world through study, kindness, imagination, and through the integrity of your own quest.”

***
About Lillian and Irwin Freundlich
Irwin and Lillian Freundlich Collection

http://www.lib.umd.edu/ipam/collections/irwin-and-lillian-freundlich

“Irwin Freundlich (1908 – 1977) was an internationally recognized piano educator who taught at the Juilliard School in New York for more than 40 years.

“He studied piano with James Friskin and Edward Steuermann at the Institute of Musical Art (parent school of the present Juilliard), and took further studies in musicology with Paul Henry Lang and Erich Hertzmann at Columbia University.

“In 1935, he became a member of the faculty at Juilliard and continued to maintain a heavy teaching schedule there in the piano department. He was the co-author with James Friskin of “Music For Piano: A Handbook of Teaching and Concert Material,” published in 1954 and currently available from Dover Publications.

“His students have concertized throughout the world and have been prize winners in numerous prestigious national and international competitions, such as the Naumberg and Leventritt in New York, the Van Cliburn in Texas, the Mozart in Austria, the Busoni in Italy, the Enescu in Romania, the Liszt-Bartok in Hungary, the J. S. Bach in Washington, D. C. and the Kosciuszko in New York, among many others.

“For thirteen summers (1953 – 1965), Irwin Freundlich held master classes on the campus of Bennington College in Vermont. He also performed recitals and conducted master classes, seminars and workshops at many institutions of higher learning throughout the United States, as well as serving on important juries for national and international competitions. He appeared in many recitals of music for one piano four hands with his wife, Lillian Freundlich.

“Lillian Freundlich was a distinguished member of the Piano Department at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and was also a member, at times, of the faculties at Juilliard Summer School, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts. Aside from her performances with her husband, Lillian Freundlich also performed solo recitals in the U.S. and Europe.”

LINKS:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/an-ageless-pianist-and-her-historic-concert-i-was-there/

classissima.com, Fresno State University, piano worldwide

Honoring my “neighborhood” piano teacher amidst melting degrees of separation

The Back Story:

After having spent about 30 years in hometown New York City, I emigrated to the agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley, California, planting myself and family in Fresno. This seemed to be a God forsaken place with excruciating heat (though dry). With its relentless air pollution; bad water from contaminated wells, and high incidence of allergies, Fresno made the ten worst cities to live in.

Yet a saving grace was Classical music station, KVPR, F.M. that survived budget cuts where two others died on the vine. Over time, however, the same show-stoppers, like the Van Suppe Overture were played ad nausea, while NEWS segments invaded too many intervals between cadences.

To its credit, Fresno had a Keyboard Concerts series founded by the late Philip Lorenz, an Arrau apostle. He brought glittering pianistic talent to the Central Valley. (Below, he’s pictured in 1969 with the celebrated pianist, and Ena Bronstein)

ena

Among featured performers on the Valley series, Philip’s ex-wife, Ena, made a lasting impression.

Her Schumann Carnaval was a recital centerpiece, further resonating into in her public masterclasses.

I was mesmerized!

Ena Bronstein lived in my “neighborhood”–4 easy walking blocks away on San Bruno, so naturally, I became her student for two music-loving years. To my grave disappointment, in the mid 80s, she relocated to Princeton, New Jersey with her new husband, leaving behind a trail of devoted pupils.

(Pardon this long-winded prelude that gives context to this writing about the “neighborhood” teacher and “melting degrees of separation.”)

It turns out that my newest adult student here in Berkeley where I relocated in 2012, traces back to Fresno and Ena Bronstein.

Her mother who had been Ena’s pupil, rekindled Valley memories in a substantial email about our common connection.

In fact, she had brought her baby, (my student) to a lesson at Ena’s home, which probably coincides with my having played in a Masterclass for Murray Perahia at Fresno State University. I was 9 months pregnant at the time, about to give birth at any moment. Ena had helped me prepare Beethoven’s “Tempest” for the class. A proponent of supple wrist, big arm motions, she freed so many of us from our tight, squeezed playing.

What a small world, I thought. The mother of my student has origins in Fresno, and her daughter who relocates to Berkeley meets up with me, a “neighborhood” teacher, carrying on the tradition. (A transcendent transfer of knowledge and philosophy through generations)

As icing on the cake, I’m compelled to memorialize Ena Bronstein’s Fresno reunion recital in the following encore tribute.

Virtuosity and Poetry in Motion hallmark Ena Bronstein’s musical return to Fresno

Mister Rogers would have welcomed Ena Bronstein back to the “neighborhood” that she left over 25 years ago. He’d say that she planned to honor her friends, former neighbors, and piano students by giving them a very special reunion concert wrapped in love and caring.

And so it happened that our Fresno “neighborhood” piano teacher who had emigrated to the East Coast, returned “home” to her roots to bestow a musical gift that left an indelible memory.

***

With my video camera mounted on a delicate tripod, I wound my way to the balcony of First Congregational Church, finding a snug space, keyboard-side for my film landing. From this vantage point, I could zoom in on a 9-foot grand that was pea-size to the naked eye.

It evoked my childhood seat in Carnegie Hall’s last row– with its dizzying gaze upon a stage that hosted Ashkenazy, Richter and Gilels. Their delicate pianissimos were melted pin drops of musical pleasure.

Ena, too, would feed the soul of listeners at the Old Red Church on Van Ness with an expressive palette of tonal colors and textures, framed and styled for each of three composers: Liszt, Debussy and Beethoven.

From the very first silky sound emanating from a well cared for piano, she riveted her audience to every nuance, sculpted phrase, and expressive possibility of all programmed works. It was playing permeated by seasoned maturity, finesse, mood painting and heightened expression. (For students learning about the unity of physical movement with fluid, emotional musical expression, Ena’s supple wrist and flowing, relaxed arms were exemplary models)

An excerpt from Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes

In the culminating Beethoven Sonata, op. 111 the artist left us in spellbound silence at the last fading cadence, needing no encore to disturb a purity of contemplation.

I barely held back tears.

***

Ena celebrated the birthdays of Liszt and Debussy in a personalized performer to audience soliloquy, then continued to play her heart out.

Pour Le Piano: Debussy Toccata

Prelude: Voiles (with my photo seascapes along the Bay)

For her generosity, and singular benefit performance to restore the Church’s Casavant pipe organ, she was rewarded by large servings of love that circulated through the reception area following her concert. I was one of many former students who begged for a photo with her:

As an added dessert, I was granted a brief interview with my “neighborhood” piano teacher who, despite her farewell decades ago, will always have an eternal presence in my life and those of others she touched in a unique way.

Ena, please come back home again, soon!

PROGRAM

From 12 Etudes Transcendantales
Harmonies du soir Liszt

Preludes – Voiles Debussy
Feux d’artifice

Etudes – pour les Arpeges composes Debussy
pour les Degres chromatiques

Pour le Piano
Debussy
Prelude
Sarabande
Toccata

Intermission

Sonata Op.111 Beethoven

Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
Arietta – Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile

BIO:

Ena Bronstein-Barton Bio:

http://www.rider.edu/faculty/ena-bronstein-barton

“Born in Santiago, Chile, pianist Ena Bronstein Barton began her career in South America, touring her native continent. After winning a national piano competition she traveled to New York to study with Claudio Arrau and Rafael de Silva. Her New York debut at Town Hall was received with critical acclaim. Since then, Ms. Barton’s career has taken her across the United States, back to South America, to Europe, the Near and Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Among her engagements abroad was an extended tour of Israel and Europe, highlighted by performances as soloist with orchestras in Jerusalem, Luxembourg and Rome.

“Ms. Barton has received many honors throughout her career, including an invitation to attend the Casals Festival, a 1976 Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant which resulted in a solo recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and the 1996 Distinguished Artists Piano Award by Artists International. Her chamber music performances have included appearances with violinist Jaime Laredo and the Guarneri Quartet.

“Ms. Barton taught at California State University-Fresno for 13 years. She was artist-in-residence at Monterey Peninsula College in California and has conducted master classes at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico, and in Santiago.

“Recently she gave a recital and master class as part of the centennial celebration of Claudio Arrau’s birthday being held in New York City at the Greenwich House Music School.

“Currently, Ms. Barton is head of the piano department at the Westminster Conservatory of Music, the college’s community music school. She is also a member of the piano faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University.”

Links:


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/my-neighborhood-piano-teacher-will-return-to-fresno-for-a-benefit-concert-video/

Donald Munro’s Fresno Bee interview with Ena Bronstein:

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/04/26/2815277/pianist-ena-bronstein-returns.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

The Neighorhood Teacher Lives On:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-neighborhood-piano-teacher-lives-on/

Shrinking Degrees of Separation in the Music World

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/shrinking-degrees-of-separation-in-the-music-world/

Claude Debussy, Debussy, Debussy Preludes, Ena Bronstein, Ena Bronstein Barton, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube video, yout tube, youtube.com

Ena Bronstein, pianist, plays Debussy’s “Feux D’artifice” (recorded “live” in concert)

A further blend of music and seascapes, not to mention muted swans.

Ena Bronstein was my former teacher in Fresno before she departed for the East Coast. Currently, she’s on the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, N.J.

LINK:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/virtuosity-and-poetry-in-motion-hallmark-ena-bronsteins-musical-return-to-fresno/

"Tales of a Musical Journey", El Cerrito, El Cerrito piano lessons, Ena Bronstein, Ethel Elfenbein, Irina Gorin, Irina Morozova, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, pianist, piano, piano technique, playing piano, POWHOW, Seymour Bernstein, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, supple wrist in piano playing, undulating wrist in piano playing, You and the Piano Seymour Bernstein, You and the PIano Seymour Bernstein on You Tube, you tube, you tube video, yout tube, youtube.com

Piano Technique: The dipping wrist, and how it defies convention (Videos)

One of my adult students echoed a belief that has resonated for generations in piano studios across the country, if not the world. The OLD school of thought was that you played piano with a rigid, arched hand, and if you slipped into a longer, relaxed curve, or dared to DIP your wrist below the level of the key slip that boxed in the keys, you might as well find yourself another teacher. (In fact, a rejecting mentor would have gathered up all the pennies that fell off your” imbalanced wrist,” and stashed them away as proof of your transgression)

I remember clearly that my second New York City piano instructor, Ethel Elfenbein, (in the early 60s) was ironically a dipping-wrist player from start to finish, and her tone reflected the beauty of this approach, though for some reason, she couldn’t communicate to me exactly what worked so beautifully for her. (I spent too much time in the kitchen copying fingerings for pieces that were way above my head!) Try the Chopin Scherzo in Bb minor, when I could barely read a Bach Little Prelude.

Just about that time, I suffered the pangs of a piano-related depression and needed some guidance about the fundamentals of tone production.

Lillian Freundlich was the first singing tone-focused mentor, but she didn’t particularly work on wrist flexibility–or isolate the role of wrist motions in piano playing. (She spent inordinate time on relaxation and building up phrases in groupings)

On to Oberlin, her alma mater, and a regression to Schmitt exercises with a stiff hand position. I couldn’t stand it! A typing course would have reaped more benefit.

Fast forward the clock to California and Ena Bronstein, a fluid player, with an immense reservoir of motions through relaxed arms into supple wrists–and to her credit, she showed me some circular elbow motions that I readily ingested. Here’s a snatch of her Liszt Transcendental Etudes that reflects poetry in motion:

Not to forget, Seymour Bernstein’s video tutorials, one of which zoned in on the dipping wrist, Part 4. The undulation slowed up entry into a note, or chord, etc. and created a honey-dipped resolution, or magnificent phrase-tapering. You couldn’t miss the beauty coming from “his” own two hands.

Part Four, “You and the Piano”

***

A few years ago, I spotted an incredible You Tube video in Hungarian, that magnified Livia Rev’s approach to the piano. To notice a DIPPING wrist would be an understatement. I copied the thumbnail as a graphic example:

And here’s Irina Morozova in motion at the piano with her fluid wrist.

Do I dare follow these great artists with a sample of my dipping wrist in this short, but charming Mozart Minuet.

I can “sculpt” phrases with my “spongy” wrist, and create nuances that are otherwise unavailable if I adhere to the Old convention of keeping an up and perfect hand position:

That’s why I advocate its flexibility in my teaching–even with a child as young as Rina who started lessons with me 8 months ago at the age of 4.

Here’s a flashback to a very early lesson where she’s tapping one note to a CD selection from Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey instruction. She had been imbued with the “spongy wrist” image as she played her detached notes, one finger at a time. (This was her third month of study)

As it happens, I’m now working with a new Skype student from the Alaskan frontier, who’s learning about the dipping wrist to warm up her playing.

Here are some pics:

***

LINK:

RELATED: https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/piano-instruction-a-beautiful-mozart-minuet-in-f-major-k-5-not-often-played-video/

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

Ena Bronstein, Ena Bronstein Barton, Ena Bronstein pianist, pianist, piano, playing piano

Virtuosity and Poetry in Motion hallmark Ena Bronstein’s musical return to Fresno

Mister Rogers would have welcomed Ena Bronstein back to the “neighborhood” that she left over 25 years ago. He’d say that she planned to honor her friends, former neighbors, and piano students by giving them a very special reunion concert wrapped in love.

And so it happened that our Fresno “neighborhood” piano teacher who had emigrated to the East Coast, returned “home” to her roots to bestow a musical gift that left an indelible memory.

***

With my video camera mounted on a delicate tripod, I wound my way to the balcony of First Congregational Church, finding a snug space, keyboard-side for my film landing. From this vantage point, I could zoom in on a 9-foot grand that was pea-size to the naked eye.

It evoked my childhood seat in Carnegie Hall’s last row– with its dizzying gaze upon a stage that hosted Ashkenazy, Richter and Gilels. Their delicate pianissimos were melted pin drops of musical pleasure.

Ena, too, would feed the soul of listeners at the Old Red Church on Van Ness with an expressive palette of tonal colors and textures, framed and styled for each of three composers: Liszt, Debussy and Beethoven.

From the very first silky sound emanating from a well cared for piano, she riveted her audience to every nuance, sculpted phrase, and expressive possibility of all programmed works. It was playing permeated by seasoned maturity, finesse, mood painting and heightened expression. (For students learning about the unity of physical movement with fluid, emotional musical expression, Ena’s supple wrist and flowing, relaxed arms were exemplary models)

An excerpt from Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes

In the culminating Beethoven Sonata, op. 111 the artist left us in spellbound silence at the last fading cadence, needing no encore to disturb a purity of contemplation.

I barely held back tears.

***

Ena celebrated the birthdays of Liszt and Debussy in a personalized performer to audience soliloquy, then continued to play her heart out.

Pour Le Piano: Debussy Toccata

Prelude: Voiles (with my photo seascapes along the Bay)

For her generosity, and singular benefit performance to restore the Church’s Casavant pipe organ, she was rewarded by large servings of love that circulated through the reception area following her concert. I was one of many former students who begged for a photo with her:

As icing on the cake, I was granted a brief interview with my “neighborhood” piano teacher who, despite her farewell decades ago, will always have an eternal presence in my life and those of others she touched in a unique way.

Ena, please come back home again, soon!

PROGRAM

From 12 Etudes Transcendantales
Harmonies du soir Liszt

Preludes – Voiles Debussy
Feux d’artifice

Etudes – pour les Arpeges composes Debussy
pour les Degres chromatiques

Pour le Piano
Debussy
Prelude
Sarabande
Toccata

Intermission

Sonata Op.111 Beethoven

Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
Arietta – Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile

BIO:

Ena Bronstein-Barton Bio:

http://www.rider.edu/faculty/ena-bronstein-barton

“Born in Santiago, Chile, pianist Ena Bronstein Barton began her career in South America, touring her native continent. After winning a national piano competition she traveled to New York to study with Claudio Arrau and Rafael de Silva. Her New York debut at Town Hall was received with critical acclaim. Since then, Ms. Barton’s career has taken her across the United States, back to South America, to Europe, the Near and Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Among her engagements abroad was an extended tour of Israel and Europe, highlighted by performances as soloist with orchestras in Jerusalem, Luxembourg and Rome.

“Ms. Barton has received many honors throughout her career, including an invitation to attend the Casals Festival, a 1976 Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant which resulted in a solo recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and the 1996 Distinguished Artists Piano Award by Artists International. Her chamber music performances have included appearances with violinist Jaime Laredo and the Guarneri Quartet.

“Ms. Barton taught at California State University-Fresno for 13 years. She was artist-in-residence at Monterey Peninsula College in California and has conducted master classes at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico, and in Santiago.

“Recently she gave a recital and master class as part of the centennial celebration of Claudio Arrau’s birthday being held in New York City at the Greenwich House Music School.

“Currently, Ms. Barton is head of the piano department at the Westminster Conservatory of Music, the college’s community music school. She is also a member of the piano faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University.”

Links:


https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/my-neighborhood-piano-teacher-will-return-to-fresno-for-a-benefit-concert-video/

Donald Munro’s Fresno Bee interview with Ena Bronstein:

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/04/26/2815277/pianist-ena-bronstein-returns.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

The Neighorhood Teacher Lives On:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-neighborhood-piano-teacher-lives-on/

Claudia Arrau, Ena Bronstein, Ena Bronstein Barton, Fresno California, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Rafael de Silva, Rider University, Schumann Carnaval op. 9, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton New Jersey, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

My neighborhood piano teacher will return to Fresno to give a benefit concert! (Video)

It’s been well over 20 years since I sauntered just a few blocks over to West San Madele, a quaint street with manicured lawns and California ranch-style homes.

But one particular residence, with an adobe brick exterior, stood out because of its warm musical welcome mat. It promised entry into a magical space with a Yamaha grand taking up the lion’s share of a modest living room.

Ena Bronstein, “neighborhood piano teacher,” par excellence, drew students well beyond the boundaries of upscale Northwest Fresno. They came, young and old, to receive a touch of inspiration each week, returning to their private piano sanctuaries with a tad more motivation to practice the Masterworks.

For those of us who managed to find a spot on her teaching roster amidst a busy local and international concert schedule, we were further enriched by her Masterclasses that offered a rich serving of the pianist’s playing and commentary bundled into a divine gift.

Bronstein’s riveting performance of Schumann’s Carnaval sent me scampering home to embark upon my own Romantically imbued adventure. It was a journey assisted along by a great mentor with a bounty of wisdom to offer about piano and life.

A flashback 1981 performance excerpt from Tschaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 exemplified Ena’s passion and towering technique:

As a teacher, Ena focused on the singing tone and how to produce it. She bestowed the physical ingredients of molto cantabile playing–how the rolling arm and wrist motions were embedded in phrasing and sculpted musical expression.

These were more than refinements that grew my own hands-on understanding of technique and opened doors to greater love and appreciation of the piano and its repertoire. From my two-year association with Maestra “Ena,” I gained so much for which words cannot amply express.

An Arrau protege, the artist passed along her mentor’s distinguished pianistic lineage and that of his assistant, Rafael de Silva to her many students who raced to the pianist’s local performances at every opportunity.

So for those of us who treasured our ongoing musical relationship with Ena, we were sad to be informed of her planned relocation to the culture-rich environs of Princeton, New Jersey. Yet, we knew that our loss would be the gain of students, colleagues, and new audience members on the East Coast.

Thankfully, after a decades-long hiatus, Ena will return to Fresno for a long-delayed reunion–one that surely promises to be this season’s peak cultural event.

I’ve already reserved my ticket.

About the recital:

“First Congregational Church of Fresno will present pianist, Ena Bronstein on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 3 p.m. in a concert featuring Beethoven Sonata Op. 111 and works from Liszt and Debussy.

“Co-sponsored by the Fresno Free College Foundation, the performance will benefit the Casavant Pipe Organ Restoration Fund at the church.”

***

Ena Bronstein Barton Bio:

http://www.rider.edu/faculty/ena-bronstein-barton

“Born in Santiago, Chile, pianist Ena Bronstein Barton began her career in South America, touring her native continent. After winning a national piano competition she traveled to New York to study with Claudio Arrau and Rafael de Silva. Her New York debut at Town Hall was received with critical acclaim. Since then, Ms. Barton’s career has taken her across the United States, back to South America, to Europe, the Near and Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Among her engagements abroad was an extended tour of Israel and Europe, highlighted by performances as soloist with orchestras in Jerusalem, Luxembourg and Rome.

“Ms. Barton has received many honors throughout her career, including an invitation to attend the Casals Festival, a 1976 Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant which resulted in a solo recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and the 1996 Distinguished Artists Piano Award by Artists International. Her chamber music performances have included appearances with violinist Jaime Laredo and the Guarneri Quartet.

“Ms. Barton taught at California State University-Fresno for 13 years. She was artist-in-residence at Monterey Peninsula College in California and has conducted master classes at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico, and in Santiago.

“Recently she gave a recital and master class as part of the centennial celebration of Claudio Arrau’s birthday being held in New York City at the Greenwich House Music School.

“Currently, Ms. Barton is head of the piano department at the Westminster Conservatory of Music, the college’s community music school. She is also a member of the piano faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University.”

RELATED LINK:

The Neighborhood Piano Teacher Lives On!

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-neighborhood-piano-teacher-lives-on/