Mastering Piano Artistry-Each Note is a Jewel/Star

‘Each note in a composition should be polished until it is as perfect as a jewel…those wonderful scintillating, ever-changing orbs of light.  In a really great masterpiece each note has its place just as the stars, the jewels of heaven, have their places in their constellations.  When a star moves it moves in an orbit that was created by nature. Great musical masterpieces owe their existence to mental forces quite as miraculous as those which put the heavens into being. The notes in compositions of this kind are not there by any rule of man.  They come through the ever … Continue reading Mastering Piano Artistry-Each Note is a Jewel/Star

 Frédéric François Chopin the Artist

Chopin comes before us, then, as a man of extremely complex make-up, and there is no easy solution to the problems which his personality and the music through which it was expressed present to his modern interpreter.  One can only approach him by sweeping aside the clutter of trivial romantic legend which has accumulated around his name and his works.  When all the sentimentality, pathos, patriotic fairy-takes and garbled ‘memories’ have been cleared away he appears in simple dignity as Thomas Carlyle saw him in 1848-a great artist and ‘a noble and much suffering human being’.  He was more than … Continue reading  Frédéric François Chopin the Artist

Toccata BWV 915 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Originally posted on The Art of Piano Performance:
Toccata BWV 915 The toccata an extensive piece intended primarily as a display of manual dexterity written for keyboard instruments reached its apex with Johann Sebastian Bach in the eighteenth century. Johann Sebastian Bach’s seven Toccatas incorporate rapid runs and arpeggios alternating with chordal passages, slow adagios and at least one or sometimes two fugues. The Toccatas have an improvisational feel to them analogous to the fantasia. Unlike the Well Tempered Clavier, English suites, French suites and other sets, Bach himself did not arrange them into a collection. When JS Bach left… Continue reading Toccata BWV 915 by Johann Sebastian Bach

A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice

Originally posted on Take Note:
By Jacy Burroughs The Baroque period is defined as the advent of opera to the death of Bach, which was roughly 1600-1750. Each period of classical music is characterized by its own styles, techniques, and musical characteristics. While most people do not have the option to play on historically accurate instruments, it is still important to work toward historically informed performance by studying the musical style of that time. Several important characteristics of Baroque music are outlined below. Dynamics              Have you ever noticed that dynamic markings in music by composers like J.S. Bach, Handel and… Continue reading A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice

Virtuosity & Piano Artistry

In the sphere of piano performance or piano artistry there are few human activities where the necessity for extraordinary physical prowess is so closely aligned with the greatest intellectual and emotional capacities. The virtuoso must possess a memory capable of maintaining thousands of pages of music in the mind and fingers, under the stress and distractions of public performance; the virtuoso must be cultured and self-aware, musically able to convey the great range of meaning embodied within a chosen repertoire; the virtuoso must project both physical excitement and emotional communication; and the virtuoso must experience life to the fullest while … Continue reading Virtuosity & Piano Artistry

Attributes & Depth Required to Interpret Chopin

A capricious, even morbid, temperament is demanded, and there must be the fire that kindles and the power that menaces; a fluctuating, wavering rhythm yet a rhythmic sense of excessive rectitude; a sensuous touch, yet a touch that contains an infinity of coloring; supreme musicianship-Chopin was a musician first, poet afterwards; a big nature overflowing with milk and honey; and, last of all, you must have suffered the tribulations of life and love, until the nerves are whittled away to a thin sensitive edge and the soul is aflame with the joy of death’
James Huneker Continue reading Attributes & Depth Required to Interpret Chopin

Presto Agitato

Pedaling Beethoven

Pedaling Beethoven. Continue reading Pedaling Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven Manuscript

Pedaling the Moonlight Sonata

Pedaling the Moonlight Sonata. Continue reading Pedaling the Moonlight Sonata