Anyone who wishes to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony without hearing any applause between the third movement and the mournful finale should probably look for a studio recording, as applauding after the third movement has become an established tradition, so much so that one finds it hard to imagine the beginning of the Adagio lamentoso preceded by […]
Some years ago, in a masterclass with the renowned American pianist and teacher Jerome Lowenthal, I played Rachmaninoff’s beautiful E-flat minor Étude-Tableaux Op. 39/5. After I finished playing, he pointed his finger at the first page and asked me: “Harmonically, what’s going on here?” Although I thought I was quite adept in harmony, I found […]
The next three posts are about Brahms’s cycle of Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76. Published in 1879, it marked a beginning and an end for Brahms: the end of a hiatus in writing for piano solo and the beginning of Brahms’s new style of writing for piano, where cycles of small miniatures supplanted the earlier […]
Many of the works I ended up playing, or just works that became some of my favorites, I initially didn’t quite like or understand. Sometimes, I decide to play a piece as soon as I hear it. At other times, however, a work may fail to arouse my interest at first hearing, but then I […]
The Andante Favori was initially intended to be the second movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata, but it ended up as a standalone work. Had it been the second movement of the muscular and heroic “Waldstein,” it would have inevitably been compared to the outer movements, but fortunately, as a separate work, we can focus on its qualities without drawing any comparisons.