Livia Rev, pianist, piano, piano blog, piano teaching, word press, you tube

Livia Rev, pianist, ripens with age

Livia Rev at piano

Livia Rev, a seasoned pianist, ripened by her 99 years on earth, drew my attention during a You Tube search for performances of Chopin’s Nocturne in F Major, Op. 15. (It was at a time when I was studying and teaching the composition.)

The middle section of this work has a notable turbulent emotional shift that’s reflected in a technically challenging set of forte measures in F minor. They come with punctuated accents, and alternating, broken 6ths, 5ths, alongside larger intervals, etc. These roll over a tremulous bass carrying a melodic line that in conjunction with the relentless treble “accompaniment” above, break the spell of the opening “Nocturnal” tranquillity. (Often performers will race the tempo at this juncture in heightened displays of technical prowess.) And sometimes at break neck speed, the interlude can become a continuous blur with little definition, meaning or musical consequence.

nocturne-in-f-major-op-15-p-2

To the contrary, Maestra Lev, in her performance, resisted the temptation to significantly accelerate the parallel minor section, and instead paced it according to her artistic sensibility, still convincingly realizing the mood transition intended! (Unfortunately, this particular Chopin Nocturne video has been removed from Rev’s you tube archives)

Upon reviewing the pianist’s discography, I discovered that many of her performances have been recorded on Naxos and Hyperion labels and can be accessed accordingly.

***
Into the Present

A Hungarian born pianist, now living in Paris, Rev still teaches piano at high intensity, keeping a repository of technical skills wedded to expressive musicianship that’s shared among her international cadre of students.

In an enviable mentoring example, Livia demonstrates the supple wrist as an ally to beautiful phrasing, (This is a physical/musical hallmark of her approach to the piano)

 

In the following performance of Czerny studies, Op. 821, the pianist amply puts her ideas into practice in a display of her flexible wrist that often bends beneath the so-called “acceptable” level, inviting critics in pedagogical circles, to decry “the dangerous broken wrist approach.” Nevertheless, Rev’s playing philosophy has worked well for her, and for generations of students who have absorbed her focused concentration and sagacious comments.

REV’s BIO: (WIKI)
Lívia Rév (born July 5, 1916) is a classical concert pianist.

“Rév was born in Budapest, Hungary. She started her studies with Margit Varro and Klara Mathe. Aged nine, she won the Grand Prix des Enfants Prodiges. Aged twelve she performed with an orchestra. She studied with Leo Weiner and Arnold Székely at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, with Professor Robert Teichmüller at the Leipzig Conservatory, and with Paul Weingarten at the Vienna Conservatory, having left Hungary in 1946.

“Rév lives in Paris, with her husband Pierre Aubé.

“She has won the Ferenc Liszt International Record Grand Prix.

“Rév has performed across Europe, in Asia, Africa, and in the United States. She has been the soloist with conductors such as Sir Adrian Boult, André Cluytens, Jascha Horenstein, Eugen Jochum, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelík, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Constantin Silvestri, and Walter Susskind.

“Her first US appearance was in 1963 at the invitation of the Rockefeller Institute.

“She is well known for her light touch and clarity. Her recordings vary from complete Debussy Préludes, Chopin Nocturnes, to Mendelssohn Songs without Words.”

adult piano students, authorsden, blog, blogger, blogging, California, classissima, classissima.com, Edvard Grieg, El Cerrito, El Cerrito California, El Cerrito piano studio, MTAC, music and heart, music and the breath, music teachers association of california, New York City High School of Performing Arts, New York University, Oberlin Conservatory, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano society, Piano Street, piano studio, playing piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway piano, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, teaching piano, teaching piano to children, teaching piano to teenagers, technique, uk-piano-forums, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: Avoiding Injuries, using “Butterfly” by Edvard Grieg as a slow practicing example (Videos)

About twenty years ago, before I was enlightened about the risk of injuries when I practiced and how to avoid them, I sustained a ligament tear of my ring finger, right hand. It was while playing the Schumann Carnaval, and just before it happened, I had held my hand in a rigid arched position anticipating a stretch of notes well beyond the octave. It was definitely a suicide gesture to attempt to accommodate the large spread of keys with a traditionally, boxed in, ultra round-shaped hand.

After my ordeal I no longer advocated a “fixed,” unaltered hand position, and I made sure to teach my students ways to protect themselves from practice-related injuries. (I recommended “Warming” up gradually– playing scales and arpeggios in slow motion, breathing through groups of notes, and enlisting a rolling, curving motion)

To prevent finger tears, carpal tunnel and the rest, I advised that students should have very pliant, flexible wrists and hands. If there’s a big keyboard span to tackle, it’s best to use ROTATION without tightening muscles. Gently ROLLING between notes over an octave is the best approach as I demonstrated in the embedded video.

Using longer or broader fingers when attempting to play large intervals, is a hand protector.

Having natural follow-through motions while navigating the expanded intervals is another way to lower the injury risk.

As for over-practicing day in and day out, such excess might lead to nerve damage, carpal tunnel, etc.

I’d once practiced the same trills for hours at time, having to seriously consider a red flag warning: achy hands.

Once the body is telling the player to give it a rest, he/she should heed what’s in his best physical interests.

RELATED:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/butterfly-by-edvard-grieg/

19th Century music, Burgmuller Inquietude, mind body connection, MTAC, music, music and heart, music history, music teachers association of california, music theory, musicology, New York City High School of Performing Arts, Oberlin, Oberlin Conservatory, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano practicing, piano repertoire for intermediate level students, piano society, Piano Street, piano student, piano studio, piano teacher, piano teaching repertoire, piano technique, piano tutorial, Piano World, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, publishers marketplace, publishersmarketplace, publishersmarketplace.com, Romantic era music, Romantic music, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Steinway grand piano, Steinway M grand piano, Steinway piano, talkclassical.com, Teach Street, Theory, Twenty five Progressive pieces by Burgmuller, uk-piano-forums, video performances, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Piano Instruction: Flexible wrist, rolling forward motion for shaping groups of notes in Burgmuller’s “Inquietude” (VIDEO)

I’ve chosen Burgmuller’s E minor “Inquietude” (Restlessness) from the composer’s Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, to demonstrate a spring forward movement of the wrist used with groupings of three slurred 16th notes that permeate the selection.

I also enlist syllables, “da-lee-dle” to assist with shaping the 3-note figures.

The Schirmer edition is below. I use Palmer/Alfred which doesn’t have accented notes in the bass, just staccato entries.

(Note that the Left Hand plays through the treble rests on the first and second beats) “da-lee-dle” refers to the three note right hand, slurred figures that occur between beats.

TREBLE LINE: rest da-lee-dle, rest da-lee-dle rest da-lee-dle rest daleedle, etc

There’s a slight leaning on the second syllable (lee)

Practicing should begin in slow motion.

(When all is said and done the piece will fly by rapidly, but just the same, in the fast tempo, there must be phrase shaping, an understanding of harmonic rhythm, and a supple wrist motion propelling the music along)

The Left hand triads are springboards into the three note 16th figures so the interdependency is evident. Chordal resolutions from Sub-dominant to Tonic, or from Dominant to Tonic suggest a shaping down. Think LEAN/resolve in these measures.

In the video I demonstrate the need for a supple wrist that should move forward through the three note 16th groupings. It should start its motion from a lower position in order to move forward. (but not too low) If the wrist is too high, there’s no room to go forward. That’s why self analysis is an important component of practicing.

I often recommend starting with the Bass (left hand), being aware of the flow and resolution of chords. The tonic “e” minor chord followed by the sub-dominant “a” minor (in second inversion) suggest a LEAN on the sub-dominant and a relaxation to the tonic (e minor)

In the G Major middle section, a G Major chord is followed by a G diminished chord, which suggests a slight leaning on the diminished and a relaxation to the G Major triad.

After concerted slow practicing, a faster tempo should be approached GRADUALLY.

Even up to tempo, wrist pliancy is always needed and the forward motion remains, though attenuated.

Intertwined with the technical demands of this piece, is the requirement to play expressively in the Romantic genre.