The legendary pianist, Shura Cherkassky made triple ppps (pianississimos) melt in his hands through a fluid keyboard approach that encompassed an array of colors and shadings. In Shura's exemplary performance of Saint-Saens' Swan the pianist's multi-voice tier of dynamics was particularly astounding for its repository of textural timbres. Not surprisingly, the artist's touch sensitivity intertwined… Continue reading Tiers of dynamics, well-regulated pianos, and expressive playing
Matters of interpretation came up at the "Y" Gym yesterday when I bumped into the pianist from a North Berkeley house of worship. Aline is a fine musician who intersperses the service with great masterworks. Recently she played Grieg's "Wedding March" during the basket-passing which lifted spirits as it amassed $$$$. At that very instant,… Continue reading Interpreting piano music: Should we truly realize the composer’s intent?
The "A" word is officially banished from my vocabulary, even if its residual usage in books, newspapers, old reviews, can't be controlled. To boot, anyone who's been handed a stack of music by the High School vocal teacher to ready for the mid-year Christmas program and a few others in between Thanksgiving and semester break,… Continue reading A pianist is a COLLABORATOR NOT an “accompanist”
A tribute to Richter in his own words, interspersed with examples of his great artistry
Over time, when we return to a piece that is well-learned, and in some cases has become a bit too predictable without a touch of inspiration, a revitalized, updated version might be worth a try. In this regard, I'm always re-recording time-honored pieces periodically, to refresh them. To broaden my perspective, I search You Tube… Continue reading Comparing performances of Mozart Sonata in C, K. 545, Movement 1, Allegro (Tempo, alone can make a big difference)
I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Sviatoslav Richter when asked how he approached a challenging new composition of virtuoso proportion: His reply-- "I read a new piece and then start practicing the place that irritates me the most. After learning that one I move to the next irritation, etc." Well, most of us would… Continue reading When sight-reading is not enough: Learning a new piano piece from the ground up so we can teach it to our students (Videos)
I've heard stories about great pianists such as Richter obsessing over a choice of piano for a concert. Allegedly, he was very fussy, and sometimes regretted the one he picked out for a recital. But when he found himself playing in Siberia and rural parts of the Russian landscape, he rose to the occasion, and… Continue reading Picking the right piano to record a selection (Videos)–“Fur Elise” by Beethoven