Myra Hess and Wartime London, 1939-1945

Myra-Hess
Are the arts a societal luxury or a necessity?  How do people respond to the arts during times of suffering and destruction? The destruction of World War II threatened hope and morale, even in brave England. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspired his people to fight against the "pestilence of Nazi tyranny" and defend "all that is mo...
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Clara Schumann: Role Model for the 21st Century

Clara-Schumann-cover
Clara Josephine Wieck was born two hundred years ago on September 13, 1819, in the German city of Leipzig. Her father Friedrich chose the name Clara, which meant bright, shining, or famous, and from her birth was determined to turn her into a piano virtuoso. By age eleven, she was touring Europe as a concert pianist, often playing her own compositi...
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Rediscovering the past: Alexander Borovsky

borovsky
Editor's note: Clavier Companion reviewed these recordings for the May/June 2018 issue. Click here to read it.  It is a delight to uncover lost gems from the last century such as Alexander Borovsky, a great 20th century pianist and teacher, and his paper entitled "The Bach Specialists of the World." Borovsky was born in Mitau, Latvia, March 8,...
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Jascha Spivakovksy: Rediscovered Romantic

1929-Jascha-at-piano
Our appreciation of pianists of the past is based primarily on their recordings. How amazing it is that in this age of digital technology we can listen to the actual playing of pianists born and trained in the nineteenth century—including pupils of Liszt and pianists who studied with Chopin's students—hearing with our own ears pianism from an era t...
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Pianist as artist: Samuil Feinberg on the role of the performer

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It's not just historically minded pianists who listen to older records. Music lovers of all sorts do. 2015 marked the first year that 'catalogue' albums, defined as any recording made more than eighteen months previous, outsold new music by 4.3 million copies.1 "Records." That's what Thomas Edison called his reproducing wax cylinders in 1888, assoc...
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An unknown pupil of Franz Liszt

Today we know only a few composers and performers from the past in contrast to the many who were active, and even well known during their lifetime. I recently read that more than 16,000 works titled "symphony" were composed between 1720 and 1810. Yet when I think of symphony composers from this time period, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and perhaps a f...
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Preluding with the Masters

For centuries, improvising introductions to keyboard works, also known as preluding, helped inspire musicians and prepare audiences for what was to come. (The German verb präludieren and the French verb preluder can simply mean "to improvise.") Preluding had practical functions as well, allowing performers to warm up, test tuning, or adapt to unfa...
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How do you use DVDs and YouTube videos of historical pianists in your teaching?

A few years ago I asked piano majors in a piano pedagogy class to name some twentieth-century pianists. Elton John and Liberace were mentioned, but few classical pianists were identified. I later did a presentation to the group on historical pianists, beginning with Ludwig van Beethoven, his student Carl Czerny, and his two nineteenth-cen...
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What do Beethoven's piano sonatas reveal about his pianism?

from the series: Let's Get Physical: Technique  Scott McBride Smith, Editor  Hans von Bülow, the nineteenth-century pianist, conductor, and master class teacher won fame for his meticulous musicianship and formidable technique. His sarcastic bon mots to students were legendary. "You have but one qualification for playing th...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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