One fearful winter’s day in Vienna, in 1794, the snow standing deep and still falling fast, the traffic almost entirely suspended in the streets, Countess Teresa Brunswick, then a girl of fifteen, was waiting for Beethoven’s arrival, to give her her pianoforte lesson. Weather never stopped him; but when he appeared it was obvious that as great a storm was raging in his mind as in the streets. He entered with hardly a motion of his head, and she saw at once that all was wrong.G. Grove, Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies, New York, Dover, 1962, pp.154-155
“Practised the sonata?” said he, without looking. His hair stood more upright than ever; his splendid eyes were half closed, and his mouth—oh, how wicked it looked! In reply to his question, she stammered out “Yes, I have practised a great deal, but—”
“Let’s see.” She sat down to the piano and he took his stand behind her. The thought passed through her mind, “If I am only fortunate enough to play well!” But the notes swam before her eyes, and her hands were all of a tremble. She began in a hurry: once or twice he said, “Tempo,” but it made no difference, and she could not help feeling that he was getting more impatient as she became more helpless. At last she struck a wrong note. She knew it at once, and could have cried. But then the teacher himself struck a wrong note too, which hurt his pupil in both body and mind. He struck—not the keys, but her hand, and that angrily and hard; strode like mad to the door of the room, and from thence to the street-door, through which he went, banging it after him.
“Good God,” she cried, “he’s gone without his coat and hat,” and rushed after him with them into the street. Her voice brought in the mother from her boudoir, curious to see the reason of the noise. But the room was empty, and both its door and the street-door stood open; and the servants, which were they? Everything now had to give way to the shocking certainty that her daughter, Countess Theresa von Brunswick, had actually run out into the street after the musician, with his coat, hat, and stick! Fortunately she was not more than a few steps from the door when the frightened servant overtook her, Beethoven meanwhile standing at a distance waiting for his things, which he took from the man and went off without a sign of recognition to his pupil.
A lesson with Beethoven
Richter on Bach
“It does no harm to listen to Bach from time to time, even if only from a hygienic standpoint.” – Sviatoslav Richter, pianist Monsaingeon, Bruno (2001). Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations. Princeton University Press, p.196. Cited at: WikipediaNot up to form, because …
Harvey Sach’s comments on pianist Author Rubinstein at age 13: …it is clear that Arthur’s practising began to deteriorate when he was about fourteen years old. He would mechanically play through one-handed exercises and use his free hand to feed himself chocolates or cherries, while he read a book that he had propped up on […]Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata for violin and obbligato keyboard in A major (BWV 1015)
I. Dolce II. Allegro assai III. Andante un poco IV. Presto Prior to J. S. Bach, the harpsichord in ensemble music was primarily a means of harmonic support. The harpsichordist would read from a figured bass—in other words, the part was rarely written out in full. Bach raised the level importance of the harpsichord to […]A “small” concerto
“I don’t mind telling you that I have written a tiny, tiny pianoforte concerto with a tiny, tiny wisp of a scherzo. It is in B flat, and I have reason to fear I have worked this udder, which has always yielded good milk before, too often and too vigorously.” – Brahms on his Second […]Brass ensembleThe juggling jazz musician
“A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.” – Benny Green, British saxophonist Benny Green (1975) A Reluctant Art: The Growth of Jazz. Books for Libraries Press, p. 16.You can’t own the tuning
This account of a bizarre law suite on May 6 at Bow St. against the Associated Board of Musical Examinations appeared in the English journal The Musical Times (June 1932). The board was accused of obtaining money under false pretences: Mr. Lennox Atkins, F.R.C.O., asked on behalf of the Equal Temperament Committee for a process […]Sleepy Bear
Title: Sleepy Bear Composer: Greg Smith Instrumentation: Piano Product medium: PDF score SAMPLE: Your browser does not support the audio element.Website navigation
[wm_website_map id=”1″]To be a good player
Bach was once complemented on his organ playing: “There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right notes at the right time, and the instrument plays itself.” Quoted by Johann Friedrich Köhler, Leipzig, after 1776. Hans-Joachim Schulze, ed. Dokumente zum Nachwirken Johann Sebastian Bachs, 1750-1800. Bach-Dokumente, III. 1972, no. […]