Displaying 21-27 of 27 result(s).
Sergei Vassilyevitch Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)

Sergei Rachmaninov was undoubtedly one of the greatest performers ever and nobody who heard him playing Beethoven's Appassionata, Chopin's B flat minor sonata or the Liszt transcriptions of Bach readily forgot him. Rachmaninov's father was an aristrocatric landowner who resigned his commission in the Cavalry's Guards of the Imperial Russian Army and retired to his estate in the Novgord district where he became involved in various musical activities. Lyou Boutakovia, Rachmaninov's mother had been born into a wealthy family and was also very interested in music so that when the four year old Sergei decided he wished to play the...

Shostakovich Piano Music

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SHOSTAKOVICH QUESTIONS REVISED 1. What most attracts you to Shostakovich's music, both piano and otherwise? Shostakovich’s music in totality represents a great musical universe, one in which there appears to be a fascinating conflict between personal intimacy and public declaration. Throughout the enormous range of music, Shostakovich the lonely poet so often and so powerfully is able to move and stir the listener by reflecting on great issues, alluding and evoking a range of expression that is truly universal. A beguiling contradiction that lies at the very essence of Shostakovich’s creative make-up. And of course...

The Beethoven Piano Sonatas from a Performer's Perspective

It was Louis Kentner who suggested that the Beethoven Piano Sonatas should be presented to the first visitor from Mars as the supreme glory of civilisation on earth, a sample of man's endeavour 'which he could put in his luggage and take back to his planet'. If Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier' is the Old Testament of Music, then the Beethoven 32 Sonatas can be considered the New. This is true not only for pianists but for all musicians, and before turning to a pianistic viewpoint it may be worthwhile to remember that Arnold Schoenberg, one of the greatest composition teachers of...

The Challenges of Training Pianists in Conservatoires in the 21st Century

First and foremost, Conservatoires have a duty to equip their students for employment in the music profession. Successfully equiping young pianists for the ever-changing demands of such an unpredictable profession in the 21st Century presents enormous and diverse challenges, which I will discuss in turn. Financial considerations are self-evidently of paramount importance. In addition to internal budgets, which need to be controlled, there is the thorny issue of funding. Without grants it is impossible to run a Conservatoire, and in this country the considerations of the H.E.F.C.E.,(Higher Education Funding Council for England) are crucial. Idealists and other-worldly artists may worry over...

THE PRACTICE LIST. AN ONGOING AND CONSTANTLY EVOLVING CATALOGUE, WITH CAUTIONARY PRELUDE, OF PRACTICE METHODS FOR PIANISTS OF A

Appendix One: THE PRACTICE LIST. AN ONGOING AND CONSTANTLY EVOLVING CATALOGUE, WITH CAUTIONARY PRELUDE, OF PRACTICE METHODS FOR PIANISTS OF ALL AGES A few years ago in tongue and cheek mode, I casually suggested to all my students that what piano teachers really needed for an easy life was a list of all possible practice methods. Teaching thereafter would be a simple procedure whereby after a student lesson performance, the teacher could say something like ‘Thank you for that. Now what you need to do for next week is practice the piece using method numbers 17, 22 and...

Unsung Heroes: Alexander Tcherepnin

Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) was one of the last great Russian composer-pianists, a truly cosmopolitan figure who mainly resided in Paris and the US after enforced exile following the 1917 revolution. Born in St. Petersburg, he was in fact part of a great dynasty of composers: Father Nicolas (1873- 1945) was the author of a number of highly convincing late romantic scores, as well as an eminent conductor and pedagogue (he counted the young Serge Prokofiev amongst his conducting pupils). Sons Serge (b. 1941) and Ivan (1943-98) have both produced significant work inspired by the Darmstadt school, working with both Boulez...