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French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique (Read 2984 times)

Offline flashyfingers

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French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
« on: March 18, 2016, 06:07:23 AM »
Hi...

Just wondering if anyone could find it entertaining to respond to my-random and obtuse-question, in essay format.

 :D

Just say whatever comes to mind, or properly site info from the archives. Whatever.

I'm bored.
I'm hungry

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #1 on: March 18, 2016, 07:37:59 PM »
have never been instructed by a conservatory trained pianist, nor attended a music school, nor analysed the origins of technical methods.  can only address your question from a historical p.o.v.

it seems unlikely there was a 'French' school before Chopin and his students ; the pianoforte or hammerklavier was relatively new technology and gaining popularity in Chopin's time.  he was one of the first composers for the instrument (contrasted to bach, mozart, haydn who did all or much of their performing and composing on earlier keyboard instruments) who consciously addressed the technical possibilities of the instrument and the pianist.  LvB was a piano teacher of course, but he believed in a doctrine of struggle ('without great struggle, there cannot be a great triumph') and making his compositions technically facile to execute was not a priority as he matured.  one of Beethoven's contemporaries Friedrich Wieck was an influential teacher and promoter of the new keyboard technology, but he seems to be self taught to a large degree.

what you are describing as the 'Russian school', if you went a bit deeper in its history, is probably a descendant of the teachings originated in the former Austro-Hungarian empire and its northern neighbors in the German states (Wieck's career started in Leipzig).  there is a legion of pianists from the twentieth century onward whose 'school' goes back to Liszt's students, and Liszt himself studied with LvB's disciple Czerny, as you probably know.  as far as post-Revolution Soviet piano methods, two of their influential teachers are the father and son of Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus. Hungary to this day still considers itself to have its own school of pianism.

getting back to your comparison of the Russian and French schools, at one time von Bulow (himself a student of Wieck) compared Saint Saens to Liszt, and believed the former to be superior technically and as an improvisor at the piano.  Saint Saens had learned the instrument by the age of three from a great aunt.  Debussy learned piano from one of Chopin's students. [Cortot, an influential teacher in the 20th century, studied in Paris under one of Chopin's pupils]. there is yet a third school of pianism (if we consider the Russians closely related to the German/Hungarian sources), Italian.  the pianoforte itself was developed in Florence, in part due to the patronage of the de'Medicis.  Clementi was considered the technical equal of Mozart and Beethoven, and someone who is better versed in piano pedagogy might be able to explain what some of the distinctions between Italian methods and those from further north.

Offline adodd81802

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 11:36:54 PM »
have never been instructed by a conservatory trained pianist, nor attended a music school, nor analysed the origins of technical methods.  can only address your question from a historical p.o.v.

it seems unlikely there was a 'French' school before Chopin and his students ; the pianoforte or hammerklavier was relatively new technology and gaining popularity in Chopin's time.  he was one of the first composers for the instrument (contrasted to bach, mozart, haydn who did all or much of their performing and composing on earlier keyboard instruments) who consciously addressed the technical possibilities of the instrument and the pianist.  LvB was a piano teacher of course, but he believed in a doctrine of struggle ('without great struggle, there cannot be a great triumph') and making his compositions technically facile to execute was not a priority as he matured.  one of Beethoven's contemporaries Friedrich Wieck was an influential teacher and promoter of the new keyboard technology, but he seems to be self taught to a large degree.

what you are describing as the 'Russian school', if you went a bit deeper in its history, is probably a descendant of the teachings originated in the former Austro-Hungarian empire and its northern neighbors in the German states (Wieck's career started in Leipzig).  there is a legion of pianists from the twentieth century onward whose 'school' goes back to Liszt's students, and Liszt himself studied with LvB's disciple Czerny, as you probably know.  as far as post-Revolution Soviet piano methods, two of their influential teachers are the father and son of Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus. Hungary to this day still considers itself to have its own school of pianism.

getting back to your comparison of the Russian and French schools, at one time von Bulow (himself a student of Wieck) compared Saint Saens to Liszt, and believed the former to be superior technically and as an improvisor at the piano.  Saint Saens had learned the instrument by the age of three from a great aunt.  Debussy learned piano from one of Chopin's students. [Cortot, an influential teacher in the 20th century, studied in Paris under one of Chopin's pupils]. there is yet a third school of pianism (if we consider the Russians closely related to the German/Hungarian sources), Italian.  the pianoforte itself was developed in Florence, in part due to the patronage of the de'Medicis.  Clementi was considered the technical equal of Mozart and Beethoven, and someone who is better versed in piano pedagogy might be able to explain what some of the distinctions between Italian methods and those from further north.

I love history. Interesting read thanks
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #3 on: March 19, 2016, 12:21:21 AM »
with all of the esteemed UK colleagues on this forum, a British influence in piano pedagogy should also be mentioned, as it illustrates the shared origins of many piano teaching methods.  Johan Baptist Cramer, John after his family moved to England, was both a virtuoso performer/composer and publisher who knew and interacted with both LvB and Clementi.  when LvB attempted to instruct his nephew in the hammerklavier, it preceded Czerny's published studies and exercises and he used Cramer's, not a shabby endorsement.  the edition of Cramer used today comes from von Bulow's musicological effort.

Offline mjames

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #4 on: March 19, 2016, 01:12:29 AM »
kinda weird how you're not mentioning John Field and his influence over Russia and central European composers (like Chopin).

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #5 on: March 19, 2016, 03:20:36 AM »
better that mention of field should come from a real pianist, not from the unschooled like me.  field is always mentioned in conjunction with chopin, like czerny with LvB and liszt, but didn't know if he also had numerous students who went on to teach other teachers.

Offline mjames

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Re: French vs. Russian vs Other school of technique
«Reply #6 on: March 19, 2016, 03:37:30 AM »
Though Field's influence is mostly attributed to the nocturne, he is also regarded as one of the major pioneers of a particular type of performance and piano-style writing that is now attributed to being "Chopinesque." I would suggest for you to look up Field's second concerto (published in 1816), it's very beautiful.
There are also sources of Chopin admitting that Field's music was a major influence and used it as a source of inspiration throughout his life.

In these type of discussions (including Adodd's pioneers of early 19th century music) composers like Field and Hummel are rarely discussed because due to changes in musical trends they have become relatively unknown. However back in the 19th century they were quite popular, I remember reading about his second concerto never going out print because it was highly demanded all over western Europe. Frequently programmed by Clara Wieck if I remember correctly...

I would suggest considering Hummel, Kalkbrenner, Clementi, Field, and Mozart when discussing about the French or Russian school of piano.