Displaying 11-20 of 27 result(s).
Franz Liszt (1811 - 1986)

The Hungarian virtuoso Liszt has been called the greatest pianist of all times. He was certainly the greatest transcriber in the history of western music, (eg. all Beethoven symphonies arranged for piano etc., etc.,) and his achievements were by any standards extraordinary. He invented the piano 'recital' as we know it, and was largely responsible for creating the tradition of performing from memory. It would probably take a lifetime in itself for someone to even copy the notes of Liszt's oeuvre, let alone create them, and so one must have complete admiration for the remerkable energy and productivity of his...

Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860 - 1941)

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Paderewski was the most celebrated and charismatic pianist after Liszt. He had a remarkable presence on stage, an inimitable coiffeur, a noble profile, beautiful tone and an incomparable poetic style. Paderewski could 'speak' through his pianism to listeners, and it was his 'parlando' and rhythmic subtleties as a performer that earmarked him as a unique artist in the Golden Age of Pianism Paderewski was born in the village of Kurylowka, Padolia a former province of Poland. His father was the administrator of several large estates and was a cultured man with a great love of music. Paderewski's mother...

Is there a specific character which makes British piano works sound British?

The rich and diverse folksong and dance tradition usually colours the ‘classical’ compositions of a nation at least to some extent, and this is most certainly the case with regard to our collective group of nations, the ’United Kingdom’. Quite often the folk influence in British Music is subtle, sometimes in all likelihood even unconscious. It is often not especially easy to define, but we all know and love Gerald Finzi’s ravishing, quintessentially ‘English’ Eclogue for Piano and strings, for example. At other times it is possible to immediately identify the ‘British’ starting point: As a Scot I feel quite...

Is there madness in methodology?

Call me a naïve idealist, but I firmly believe that the spirit of music is too magical and precious to be bound by any dogmatism or systematic formulae. As soon as artists become rigid, predictable, formulaic or intolerant of exceptions, then they are on a sliding scale towards mediocrity, routine and all stands against freshness and vibrancy. In short, they cease to be artists and metamorphose into pedants. It is interesting to remember that disciples of Leschetizky, surely one of the most important if not the greatest piano pedagogue of all time, who stated over the years that they taught...

Myaskovsky

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Article originally written for Rhinegold's 'Piano Magazine' in the series 'Unsung Heroes': Unsung Heroes: Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950) In Shostakovich’s centenary year it is only fitting that we re-examine the political strife and terror that the great composer unquestionably endured throughout much of his creative life. But it is also important to remember what Soviet realism and the events of 1948 meant for other composers, especially Nikolai Myaskovsky, often called ‘the musical conscience of Moscow’ or the‘father of the Soviet symphony’. It was cruelly ironic that Myaskovsky’s name was...

Myra Hess (1890 - 1965)

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Born in Hampstead, Myra Hess was the youngest of four children. She commenced playing the piano at the age of five and in due course passed the junior examinations of the Trinity College of Music. By the age of seven she was a student at the Guildhall School of Music where she was influenced by Julian Pascal and Dr Lando Morgan. On gaining a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music she became a student of Tobias Matthay, one of the greatest piano teachers of her time and it was his deep insight into both the psychological and technical aspects...

Prokofiev and the Piano

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), identified five essential elements which make up his musical personality as a composer, and they certainly make a fairly comprehensive summary of why his music is special to me: Melody, Classical Form, Sense of the grotesque, Harmonic Innovation, Motoric rhythm. To that should be added his percussive, radical approach to pianism As far as melody goes, perhaps this is the quality which immediately attracts the listener. I remember being swept off my feet as a child by Peter and The Wolf and Romeo and Juliet because of the wonderful tunes. Prokofiev was a great opera composer, and...