Chopin Greatly Admired Liszt

Chopin Greatly Admired Liszt Documentation in a Letter

Chopin Greatly Admired Liszt as per Documentation in a Letter. I feel a special connection to both  Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt. Thanks to a generous father, I was able to study piano under Mischa Kottler. In the 1920’s Kottler studied with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna.  In addition to being the founder of two conservatories in Paris, Cortôt piano studied with a pupil of Chopin. Then Kottler continued on to Vienna and studied with Sauer, a pupil of Liszt.  The last couple of years of his life, Liszt sent his best pupils to different cities in Europe to keep the piano tradition alive. Sauer was sent to Vienna. Kottler had a letter of recommendation from Rachmaninoff to study with Cortôt and Sauer.

Mischa Kottler at age 93 enjoying our children and a good mug of beer at our home.

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziJb4KAcwA
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels
 

Source for Chopin Greatly Admired Liszt

Tad Szulc wrote Chopin in Paris; a very worthwhile book. He writes about how Chopin and Liszt had mutual admiration for each other. Liszt talks about how ” There was so much distinction in his posture. His manners had the mark of such good upbringing that he was treated like a prince.”

Chopin describes in a letter to Hiller his admiration for Liszt as he played Chopin’s etudes: “I write not knowing what my pen is scribbling because at this very moment, Liszt is playing my etudes. They are transporting me to the limits of rational thought…..I would like to steal from him his way of performing my own creations.” 

My own hope is that pianists will want to play my own music. My lyricist wife and I are giving such a concert 7:30 on line. The Triad Theater in New York City will host the event. See events on DSOworks.com

Internal link:

Dec 20, 2020 – Apr 4, 2021

 

imitation stifles music

Imitation Stifles Music and Hinders Originality

Imitation Stifles Music and Hinders Originality. A young French pianist came to ask a question of famed pianist and conductor Phillipe Entremont.  The purpose was to ask questions about her ideas for pianistic interpretation. Entremont had already won a prize in the 1952 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition[1.   Among his credentials was being the Director of the New Orleans Symphony from 1980 to 1986. He served the Denver Symphony Orchestra as principal conductor from 1986 to 1988, and music director from 1988 to 1989.[3] Entremont has also been chief conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and is now its Conductor Laureate.  He also holds the same title with the Israel Chamber Orchestra.

I will quote Entremont’s answer found in the book, Reflections from the Keyboard: The World of the Concert Pianist.  by David Dubal.  Dubal has done a great service for all aficionados of piano playing in writing this book. In part Dubal’s knowledge comes from being the music and program director of New York City’s former classical music radio station, WNCN. His own credentials are also most impressive.

How Imitation Stifles Music

Essentially the younger, less experienced pianist told Entremont:  If a phrase pleases her from Brendel she copies him. If another phrase was pleasing from say, Weissenberg, she did the same. In effect, she kind of assembled the thoughts of many great pianists for various opus numbers she worked on. 

Entremont, in mentioning his thoughts to Dubal  replies: “This means she has nothing to say. You can not be successful at imitation: it is the death of music.”

My own piano teacher was Mischa Kottler. He often complained about students who were only great at imitation. If you showed them  exactly what to do, they were fine. However, such pupils were incapable of coming up with own ideas. Greatness often means rather than leaning on other people for musical thoughts, also be sure have your own.

 

two greatest pianists

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style

Two Greatest Pianists Differed in Style. How different can pianists be and still be on a par? This question is inspired inspired a quote from a quote:

  • Henry Pleasants. a music critic from Philadelphia once asked Rachmaninoff: Who are the greatest of the living pianists.
  • Harold Schonberg, music critic for the NY Times  quotes Pleasants quoting Rachmaninoff in his own book, The Virtuosi: Classical Music’s Great Performers from Paganini to Pavarotti

The story goes: Rachmaninoff thought a bit. “Well, he said, there’s Hofmann…”and he thought a little bit more, …”and there’s me.”  Rachmaninoff did not say another word, as the story goes. The fame of Rachmaninoff as eclipsed that of Hofmann, but it is still worth looking into Hofmann’s  background and accomplishments: 

two greatest pianists
Hofmann seated at the piano in 1916

The Second of the Two Greatest Pianists

Josef Hofmann - Wikiwand
Josef Hofmann at Carnegie Hall

Josef Hofmann was born in Podgórze (a district of Kraków), in Austro-Hungarian Galicia (present-day Poland) in 1876. His father was the composer, conductor and pianist Kazimierz Hofmann, His mother the singer Matylda Pindelska. As a composer, Hofmann published over one hundred works,  under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky.  Included two piano concertos and ballet music. In 1946, he gave his last recital at Carnegie Hall,  He made 151 appearances at Carnegie.  Retirement to private life in took place in 1948.

How Did the Two Greatest Pianists Differ?

 

 

Physically (1) Hoffman was short. Rachmaninoff was tall.  Hofmann was loquacious talking fluently, readily, and incessantly. Rachmaninoff  severe, stern, or gloomy in manner.  His appearance was stern and he wasted no words. Hofmann color his music; while Rachmaninoff projected strength, structure and form. Advance planning marked the music of Rachmaninoff. Spontaneity marked Hofmann’s style.

Conclusion

What I find amazing is that Rachmaninoff, as the story goes, (1) Mentions Hoffman before he mentions himself. (2)  He idolizes a polar opposite.  (3) Then again, the mind of a genius is not easy to understand. My main teacher was primarily Mischa Kottler. Rachmaninoff, in the 1920’s gave Mischa a recommendation to study in Paris with Cortôt.  Mischa then went and studied with Emil von Sauer.  Enjoy this youtube recording of Mischa playing the Minute Waltz.

Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Chopin’s Minute Waltz, with a twist …

Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler – DSOWORKS

Unthoughtful edditing of music was discussed here

Unthoughtful Editing of Music Seems to be Everywhere

Unthoughtful Editing of Music Seems to be Everywhere. I attended an accelerated high school- Cass Technical High in Detroit. They had some 32 curriculums you could major in. They even kept an airplane in a large room on the 1st floor for an aeronautics technology program. For me, there were two musical courses to choose from: Vocational and Advocational. This remarkable high school was “college prep”. In retrospect, I think many colleges could have been “prep” for Cass Tech High. But alas, things change. Ruins of the high school are pictured below.

Image result for pictures of cass technical high school
The glory that was Cass Technical High School

Unthoughful Editing of Music- One Typical Example

We had a esprit de corps among the students that was second to none. we discussed countless and varied topics. Nothing was ever off the table for discussion so to say.  Music editing was a hot subject. My fellow students, the class of 1969, had a running joke about musical editors. We all concurred on a musical frustration cycle. It went as follows

  • First you work at becoming a pianist/composer. When that doesn’t quite pan out-
  • Second you try working at becoming a conductor.
  • Finally, when the above two fail, you become an editor.

The point is the editor is out for revenge. He thinks: “If can’t make it as a composer, performer or as a conductor, I’ll be sure that no one else can”. This thought may be either conscious or unconscious but the effect is the same either way. If you follow the editors instructions, your efforts will most likely fall in line with his expectations of failure. Many teachers insist on their students following the editor’s marking.That’s a minor to major tragedy!

 Unthoughtful Editing: My teacher studied with Emil von Sauer in Vienna in the 1920’s

Emil von Sauer was personally taught by Franz Liszt. Liszt accepted several students at the end of his life. Sauer was one of them. He, in turn, edited all the piano works of Johannes Brahms. However, I believe that even Liszt kept fingering secrets from his select piano students. Sauer in turn taught my teacher, Mischa Kottler. Samples of Mischa’s playing anywhere are extremely rare. Below is one that will show you what good fingering can do. Here’s to reviving another lost art!

https://www.youtube.com/www.youtube.com › watch

 

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Chopin’s Minute Waltz, with a twist …

Internal link: Changing Standards in Musical Performance are Upon Us.

 

 

Hello Boca Grande

Hello Boca Grande for the Eleventh Year

Hello Boca Grande for my piano employment the 11th straight Year. Click on the Boca Grande nowhere but here box below to see many incredibly beautiful and exotic pictures of the island. There my piano playing services will be in full swing.  Daughter Kathryn Parks worked on this post for Michael Saunders. She works on promotion for this real estate company in Florida and does a beautiful job at that.

Untouched by time, Boca Grande is a classic Florida getaway where pristine beaches, sunny days, and small-town charms create a blissful atmosphere.

 

Hello Boca Grande

It’s impossible not to have fabulous stories when you work at such a place. One of favorites is the evening that two distinguished ladies from London sat and enjoyed their dinner while dining on the table right beside the piano. Fortunately, my piano touch is such that people can enjoy their dinner and still converse while listening to beautiful melodies. My incredible instructor Mischa Kottler, studied in Europe in Paris under Alfred Cortôt in the 1920’s. Cortôt traced his lineage to Frederic Chopin. Then Mischa Kottler went to Vienna and apprenticed under Emil von Sauer. Sauer studied under Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. Mischa was always emphatic when he would say: ” “Present the melody on a silver platter.” In so doing you can eliminate all the ponderous accompaniment that so many often vulgarly place into their piano playing.

But on with the story: When I got up for a small respite, I walked past the ladies. One said to me, “We enjoyed your playing, especially your Andrew Lloyd Webber selections.”  I replied.”Oh, thank you.” Then the other lady proudly said: “Yes,our assigned seats are in the British House of Lords right next to him!”

Why is this Lineage Important?

Today so much piano playing is electronic. Often accompaniments are provided by the touch of a button. The old school of knowledge is then lost. Happily, at the fabulous Inn the old school is still in full swing. I will be there nightly from Dec 20 until Easter. Please say hello. P.S. if you decide to buy a home there, ask my daughter, Kathryn. I am also a composer. My wife, Sharon, is my lyricist and librettist.  Sharon, and I just work shopped our new opera Patra in New York. Click on the link for more info. Finally, please share this post with friends! Thank you.

PATRA – An Opera Comique performed in two acts, sung in English, written by Sharon and David Ohrenstein about Cleopatra’s final days as ruler of Egypt.

About · ‎Media · ‎Workshop · ‎Support

 

Boca Grande

Chopin Greatly Admired Liszt

Ageless Teacher Pianist Mischa Kottler

Ageless Teacher Pianist Mischa Kottler. Great men, like great wines, improve with age. Mischa, at the time of this picture was 88. He stayed active until age 94. What kept him going? Passion for the piano. As a teacher, he had a slew full of piano competition winners on his record. Even rock n’ roll benefited from his total mastery of the instrument. Gregory Arthur “Greg” Phillinganes (born May 12, 1956) is an American keyboardistsinger-songwriter, and musical director based in Los Angeles, California.   A prolific session musician, Phillinganes has contributed keyboard tracks to numerous albums. These included representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has toured with notable artists, such as Stevie WonderEric ClaptonDavid Gilmour and Toto, served as musical director for Michael Jackson, and has released two solo studio albums.

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Greg Phillinganes first studied with Mischa Kottler:

From Greg Philliganes’ interview in Keyboard Magazine and his Quote of Mischa Kottler 

“Sensing that I needed discipline more than anything else, my Mom managed to hook me up with a wonderful teacher named Mischa Kottler.  He was a no-nonsense Russian Jewish guy who could crack a pane of glass with one finger. He was a complete badass, and he cooled my attitude out immediately. I studied with him well into my teens.

Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler – DSOWORKS

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziJb4KAcwA
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

ageless teacher pianist
Certainly, Mischa knew more piano concertos than I had children.He had some 86 concertos at his fingertips.

Ageless Teacher Pianist Visits My Family

Primarily as result of having studied with my ageless teacher pianist Mischa, I too have had a successful and long lasting career. I’ve just begun my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. There, I play piano for VIP’s from around the world. The most memorable person I played for was former President George H. Bush. Below is an internal link to this event from DSOworks. Also, Sharon Ohrenstein, my wife, and I are bringing a full workshop to the NY stage this coming September. Our original “opera comique” is entitled “Patra”. Look under the “stage” heading on DSOworks.com. We will be working with an incredibly, wonderful, creative team.  Workshop will be sponsored by: The American Center for New Works Development.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

 

contrapuntal universe

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today

Keyboard Consideration is Still Glossed Over Today. For an explanation, let’s look back to the Baroque era. Its years were approximately 1600 – 1750. Very few composer/keyboardists  in the Baroque era were said to have mastered even two types of  keyboards!  Most often, if they  played the organ, they were deficient in the harpsichord. In reverse, if they could play the harpsichord, they were deficient in organ. This is the point of this blog: If two types of keyboards were confusing, even for geniuses; today we literally have hundreds of types. This of course takes into consideration the electronic wizardry which seems to multiply daily.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (22 November 1710 – 1 July 1784), the second child and eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach.  He was a German composer and performer. He possessed two mind sets for keyboard instruments: One for the organ. One for the harpsichord. Historian and contemporary of J.S. Bach, Johann Forkel, wrote: Their style (harpsichord and organ)  and manner of playing differ as much as their respective destinations. That which at the harpsichord produces excellent effect, does not express anything at the organ and vice versa.”

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach sketch.png
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a master of both harpsichord and organ. He, and his father, were two  of the few.

Keyboard Consideration of Organ V. Harpsichord

Further on Forkel states  how he only knew of two musicians  equally adept at both: J.S. Bach and his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedmann Bach.  He states: “Both were elegant virtuosos at the harpsichord. Once seated at the organ, it is impossible to perceive the slightest trace of the the harpsichordist.” Forkel states the following of Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: “I had the pleasure of hearing Wilhelm Friedmann at the harpsichord. All was delicate, elegant and pleasing. When I heard him at the organ, I was truly seized with religious respect.  ”

Words of Keyboard Consideration from My Own Teacher- Mischa Kottler

Mischa studied in Paris and Vienna in the 1920’s. He worked with Alfred Cortôt in Paris and Emil von Sauer in Vienna. He told me right from the beginning, do not play the organ if you study piano. Seeing what Forkel just had to say about two different keyboard instruments, I think he was absolutely correct! Please share with friends that might be interested.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

I owe my longevity as a pianist to Mischa. This will be my 10th year at the Gasparilla Inn. Check the internal link above. December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

Tenth Year Entertaining
Famed Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande

Mischa Kottler plays Rachmaninoff, Prelude in g# minor – YouTube


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHQ8mCk26Pg
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Mischa Kottler Plays Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G# minor 

Here is an internal musical link:

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions

 

piano competitions

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions

Pianistic Robots are Created by Competitions. Many aspiring pianists have competed in competitions.  So what is it about competitions that can turn piano players in robots? I like to quote David Dubal. One of my favorite books is his Reflections from the Keyboard. He interviews quite a group of  great pianists in compiling  the book.

David Dubal (born ClevelandOhio) is an American pianistteacherauthorlecturer, broadcaster, and painter.[1 Dubal has given piano recitals and master classes worldwide. He has also judged international piano competitions. Included are  the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition).

Image result for picture of Reflections from the Keyboard by David Dubal
Dubal. through interviews, relates how robotic uniformity is created by competitions.

Dubal’s interview with Jorge Bolet is particularly enlightening. Bolet was born in Havana. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.   Later he taught at Curtis from 1939 to 1942. His teachers included Leopold GodowskyJosef HofmannDavid SapertonMoriz Rosenthal and Fritz Reiner.[2]

Jorge Bolet 1975.JPG was not a pianistic robot
Jorge Bolet interviewed in Reflections from the Keyboard.

He relates the three most important factors of any concert: Composer, performer and the  paying audience. Competitions only have the 1st two. Competitions have done away with the public audience. Incidentally, so has recording and playing on youtube. Mechanical adjustments, corrections and the artifial  assembly of many takes are possible.  Now I will quote Bolet:

How Pianistic Robots are Created

“A young pianist enters a big international competition.There are 15 judges, roughly. The pianists have to get 15 votes. At least that is their aim. They cannot play anything that is going to antagonize any of these 15 people in any way. They cannot do anything that could be considered controversial by any one of them. They cannot do anything that could be considered a personal idea. So, as a result, you hear one, ten,thirty young pianists and they are all alike.They all have exactly the same approach. You never hear anything that you haven’t heard many times before.”

My own piano instructor was Mischa Kottler. He paid an unexpected visit to our family when he was reaching his mid-90’s. My wife and children will never forget the experience. He flew unaccompanied to Sarasota from Detroit. He had on a light blue, French beret. It was as if he had just gotten off the plane from Paris. He studied there in the 1920’s under Alfred Cortôt. Later he went to Vienna and studied with a pupil of Liszt- Emil von Sauer. When you listen to his version of the Minute Waltz, you’ll get an idea of his capabilities- even in his 90’s. He played this waltz for our family. Incidentally, I offer piano lessons in Sarasota.

Happiest Unplanned Moment of My Life and Mischa Kottler – DSOWORKS

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziJb4KAcwA
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels

Changing Musical Focus inspired by Jeorge Bolet

Changing Musical Focus is About What’s Coming

Changing Musical Focus is About What’s Coming. Musical styles have come in set periods of time. For success, go with the flow. Why? In the sage words of Henry David Thoreau:

” I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose.”  Or as he also states in Walden, “Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.”

Carve your own path. This is what pianist Jeorge Bolet did. Jorge Bolet (November 15, 1914 – October 16, 1990) was a Cuban-born American virtuoso pianist and teacher. Among his teachers were Leopold Godowsky, and Moriz Rosenthal.  Roenthal was a pupil of Franz Liszt.[1]Bolet was born in Havana.   He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Consider this reference found in David Dubal’s book. It is entitled Reflections from the Keyboard.  In Bolet’s words: “Today’s audiences go to the concert hall, to hear Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms…” Then Bolet goes on to state that  the last generation “went to hear what the pianist had to say about the composer.” Thus, we not only idolized the composer, we did the same for the pianist.

I was fortunate that my own piano teacher, Mischa Kottler belonged to the same vintage.  He studied with Alfred Cortot and Emil von Sauer. The old school of pianists were not only musicians. They were also magicians. They would take you on a  “magic carpet ride” with their piano playing.

Related image
Myself, blogger David, in concert in New York with Rubinoff and His Violin

 

Changing Musical Focus and Back to the Old School

Mischa Kottler- A Visit By the Legendary Piano Instructor – DSO Works

To see what the old school was all about, click on this internal link. Mischa plays Chopin’s Minute Waltz in doubled notes. Everywhere, audiences went wild at this feat. The link also documents and describes his visit at age 92 to our family. Thanks to Mischa. and other great men I worked with, including Rubinoff and His Violin,  my own career as pianist/composer only now starting to reach a pinnacle. Check on events on DSOworks.com.

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

Video for mISCHA kOTTLER PLAYS cHOPINS MINUTE WALTZ

In conclusion. Jeorge Bolet comments how today many are not interested in the musician. He states that he had often gone to all Beethoven concerts. Many pianists had been quite dull. Yet the audience applauded wildly. He states:  “In a sense, the audience is applauding for itself being there.” I believe that those days are about to go, bye-bye.

 

contrapuntal universe

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way

Careless Music Editors Point the Wrong Way. I am a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The school was a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States.[2][3] The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools. In the 1960’s Cass Tech two major musical curriculum. Both were college prep. The school had some 30 college prep courses of study. You could even major in aeronautics. We actually had an airplane in one of the rooms that you could work on for assembly or repair.  In the music courses the  students were wise to editors. We all spoke of a professional frustration cycle. It went from soloist to conductor to editor. Editors, we half-jokingly said, wanted to get revenge on everyone else. Obviously, they couldn’t be successful at the first two professions. Not bad for high school kids!

Careless music editors were bantered about at this High School in Detroit
My High School Alma mater was Cass Technical High School in Detroit

J.S. Bach omitted placing tempo, phrasing or dynamics in his works. Over zealous editors quickly stepped in.  I quote Edward Hughes from G. Schirmer  & Co. I think he is one of the good ones. Edwin Hughes taught at the Ganapol School of Musical Art in Detroit from 1910 to 1912, the Volpe Institute of Music in New York from 1916 to 1917, and the Institute of Musical Art in New York from 1918 to 1923. He lectured at various schools. From 1920 to 1926 he was special editor of piano music for G. Schirmer, Inc. He toured widely in the USA and Europe after the close of World War I; performed duo-recitals with his wife, the pianist Jewel Bethany Hughes, and also gave master-classes. He also had opinions about careless music editors.

Careless Music Editors Over-Edit

I am currently working on the Bach Prelude and Fugue in A minor. It is transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt. Publisher is G. Schirmer Inc. Hughes humbly states about his editing: “The phrasing is to be regarded more as indicative than complete. Of himself he states “There is no desire to appear arbitrary in matters of pedaling, touch and so forth. Also bear in mind: “In the democracy of art there is no final authority on such subjects.” I think these are the words of a great man.

Finally, if anyone is interested I have  I have one or two openings for piano students in Sarasota.

Mischa and I in our Sarasota Home
My instructor, Mischa Kottler, studied with Emil von Sauer- a pupil of Franz Liszt. I acquired a Master of Music degree from Wayne State University under Mischa.