Logo

Happy Birthday, Clara Schumann

Friday, September 13, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | history

cschumann

 

Clara Schumann (1819-96) was much more than the wife of composer Robert Schumann. She was, quite simply, one of the greatest pianists of all time. A child prodigy, her technique and musicianship as a mature artist led to her being regarded as the equal of giants of the keyboard such a Franz Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg and Anton Rubinstein.

And from her girlhood until the end of her marriage she composed wonderful music, mostly solo piano music, but other works as well, including a concerto, a large number of songs and a sublime piano trio.

In her later years, she was an internationally famous teacher, and her performing career lasted more than six decades. She was, quite simply, a phenomenon.



Manuscript of Mozart's Piano Sonata K331 Discovered in Budapest in 2014

Friday, November 2, 2018 by Mary O'Connor | history

mozart-sonata-k331

 

The manuscript of Mozart's A major piano sonata K331 has recently been discovered in Budapest. Having spent the majority of its life in the Budapest’s National Széchényi Library for decades, the coveted manuscript was rediscovered by Haydn scholar Balazs Mikusi.

"When I first laid eyes upon the manuscript, the handwriting already looked suspiciously 'Mozartish'," said Mikusi, who is the head of the music collection at National Szechenyi Library. "Then I started reading the notes, and realised it is the famous A Major sonata ... My heart rate shot up."

The piece was composed in 1783 and contains Mozart’s most popular jam, “Turkish March,” which has become a piano lesson staple all over the world.

Although, unfortunately, Mikusi can’t say how or when these pages found their way to Hungary; they reveal subtle differences from the published editions of the sonata. The key variances are seen in the phrasing, dynamics and occasionally the notes themselves.

"It is very rare that a Mozart manuscript pops up. Moreover the A Major Sonata had no known manuscript, so it is a really big discovery," he said.

The library has only released teasing images of the manuscript, nothing more.

 

From Manuscript of Mozart's Piano Sonata K331 Discovered in Budapest's National Széchényi Library : Classical : Classicalite.

The whole sonata:




 

Piano Lessons from the Past

Thursday, October 25, 2018 by Mary O'Connor | history

 

Looks a bit different than today's lessons!

This photograph was taken in 1899, and shows a young girl taking Piano Lessons. When I was a little kid, they made everyone take piano lessons. Yep, I had to take piano lessons . . . I really do not know why. I did try pretty hard, but I could never make any progress. You see, I could only think about one finger at a time. When it got to the part where lots of different fingers had to be doing different things at the same time, that is where I had lots of trouble. Anyway, after a couple of months, the teacher politely told my parents that they were wasting their money on the lessons, that I was not going to be a piano player.

From Old Picture of the Day: Piano Lessons