Rachmaninoff Versus Editor – Who is Right?

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor – Who is Right? It was the early 1920’s. My piano teacher took an audition to study piano with Sergei Rachmaninoff. The gist of the audition was this: Rachmaninoff was too busy giving concerts and composing to take on any students. But, he gave my piano instructor, Mischa Kottler, a letter of recommendation. The letter was addressed to Alfred Cortôt.  Who was Alfred Cortôt? Alfred Denis Cortôt (born Nyon, 26 September 1877; died Lausanne, 15 June 1962) was a FrenchSwiss pianist and conductor. He is one of the most famous 20th century musicians. He was especially known for his playing of piano music by 19th century Romantic composers such as Chopin and Schumann. He formed a piano trio with the violinist Jacques Thibaud and the cellist Pablo Casals.  Now back to Rachmaninoff versus Editor.

Picture of of Alfred Cortot. Thanks to Rachmaninoff, my piano instructor studied under Alfred Cortot.

For Mischa Kottler’s audition, he played Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto for the composer. Sergei told Mischa after he finished: “That’s not how the editor marked the phrasing in the music!” Mischa told me at one of my piano lessons that he replied to Sergei:”I know. But I heard you play the concerto in concert. You did it the way I played it for you!”

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor …. The Composer Wins and so Does Mischa Kottler

Rachmaninoff Versus Editor
My Instructor, Mischa Kottler, Studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris and Emil von Sauer, a pupil of Liszt, in Vienna.
 Rachmaninoff was so impressed, he wrote the letter.  Mischa studied with Cortôt in Paris. Then he went to Vienna and studied with Emil von Sauer. That launched him on a successful piano career. He consequently became the official pianist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Mischa headed the piano department at Wayne State University. I took lessons with him for 5 years at WSU. He taught about 50 piano students with full one hour lessons.  He was the music director of WJR in Detroit. He raised many successful students. Now I (blogger David Ohrenstein) am offering piano lessons in Sarasota, Fl. From Dec. 20- April 1 2017. I will play in Boca Grande, Fl. This will be at the Gasparilla Inn. Their vintage Steinway Grand was just rebuilt for me. Larry Keckler rebuilt it with new Steinway parts direct from Germany. Hope to see you there!
 Image result for pictures of the Gasparilla Inn on DSOworks

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>