In our 21st Century digital age of Mp4s, CD's, You Tube channeled uploads, and live-streamed recitals, it's a wonder that a performer can bridge the distance from his audience and move listeners to heights of emotional ecstasy. One such exemplary performance of Beethoven's Op. 111, delivered through a modest recorder placed beside Vladimir Horowitz's piano,… Continue reading Seymour Bernstein’s legendary Op. 111 (Beethoven)
Two days of intensive piano evaluating produced a lovely outcome. It was a partnered teacher/pupil journey through aisles of Kawai, Yamaha, and Baldwin verticals, playing and replaying them-- comparing responses to voicing, tactile/touch tone, pedal/no pedal trials through lowest to highest octaves. Our duo team effort elicited a patient, interactive stream of responses: Teacher: "This… Continue reading A Successful Piano Finding Journey for an adult student (Video)
I often use scales played in opposite directions to reinforce posture and the body's ability to lean in either direction toward the highest or lowest octave without bench wandering, or dizzying head movements. Since the third octave in these excursions is not within eye range, the advantage of a pull toward the keyboard, (even without… Continue reading Practicing Contrary Motion Scales (Video tutorial)
Schumann's Album for the Young opens with an ethereal duet that meanders through heart-rending harmonies by its seamless flow of broken intervals and chords in the lower line. (The bass is intentionally composed in an alto range, and read in the left hand with a second treble clef, bringing the duet to poignance by its… Continue reading Beauty in Simplicity: Robert Schumann’s “Melody” No. 1
With one big eyeful of Friedrich Burgmuller's "La Candeur" (Frankness), one observes repetitious strands of melody that can be stultified by a rigid 4/4 framing. The erroneous "study" or etude effect, furthered by a beat-hammering mentor, can thrust a struggling player into an inescapable auto-pilot zone Yet, the opening measures, with twin note groupings, can… Continue reading Repeated groups of notes, metrical framing, and phrase contouring
What would our precious Domenico be without his Baroque era adornments, embedded trills, heart-throbbing melodies in gypsy, folkloric framing! And who can overlook the flamenco guitar, rhythmic castanets and tambourines in full keyboard orchestration under Portuguese and Spanish royal influence. Yet the very first Scarlatti sonata given to me by my beloved NYC mentor, Lillian… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti and trills!
A few years ago, I recorded a set of the most charming tableaux from Alexandre Tansman's Pour Les Enfants, thinking the composer had surely reached a peak of immeasurable poetic expression in his "Very Easy" volume 1. In truth, the contents could not be described in such Primer-like terms, because each miniature had built-in technical… Continue reading Delightful “Primary” Level Repertoire for Teachers and Students