Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc.

Posted by: vlhorowitz

Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/12/13 03:00 PM

Hi Everyone,

Here is the full transcript of our interview with Juilliard piano professor, Jerome Lowenthal. Mr. Lowenthal speaks about auditioning for Alfred Cortot, his thoughts on Vladimir Horowitz' tone, tone production itself, and more.

As always, thank you all for reading. And Happy New Year smile

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-pianist-jerome-lowenthal-complete
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/12/13 06:58 PM

You have done many fine interviews but, for me, this was by far the most interesting. The questions and Lowenthal's answers were utterly fascinating.

I've only heard him play live once at Columbia University's Miller Theater maybe 15 years ago. Interestingly enough(in relation to your interview), he played the Hammerklavier at that concert. I know that several of PW's most outstanding professional pianist members have studied with him. He is clearly a sensational teacher and his personal acquaintance with so many of the great pianists of the 20th century makes for fascinating and insightful stories.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/12/13 07:34 PM

He's the first person who I've heard explained in simple terms the secret of Horowitz's amazing bel canto tone: his 'very, very extreme voicing' and the way he played some notes in soft music 'extremely, extremely loud'. Mostly, critics just praise his 'golden tone' - something that's also often applied to Shura Cherkassky, who played such music in a similar manner (i.e., a very large contrast between the melody and the accompaniment).

Of course, to do this effectively, the pianist must be able to play the accompaniment really, really softly and evenly as well (like Horowitz did in the middle section of Rachmaninoff's G minor Prelude, in which he voiced the inner melodies as well as the main one very prominently).....which is where many of us fall short.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/12/13 08:23 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Of course, to do this effectively, the pianist must be able to play the accompaniment really, really softly and evenly as well (like Horowitz did in the middle section of Rachmaninoff's G minor Prelude, in which he voiced the inner melodies as well as the main one very prominently).....which is where many of us fall short.
I think it's actually quite easy to voice the inner melodies in this prelude. Certainly every professional pianist does this quite easily and even amateurs (like Piano Dad's son) do this well. The inner melodies in this piece are played mostly either separately with the right hand or with the thumb of the left hand which makes the voicing pretty basic for those ready to handle the far more difficult fast sections of this piece.
Posted by: vlhorowitz

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/14/13 12:35 PM

I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. It was a great pleasure and honor to speak with Professor Lowenthal. Thank you for reading smile

Our next interview will be with Jeffrey Siegel, who talks about his time with Swiss pianist, Rudolf Ganz (to whom Scarbo is dedicated). He'll be performing in the Bay area on the 19th.
Posted by: wr

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/15/13 06:59 AM

Interesting interview.

"It was July, 1957, and I had just won Second Prize in the Busoni Competition (the First Prize winner was a magical Argentine girl of sixteen)..."

Lowenthal neglected to mention that along with him, Ivan Davis also won Second Prize at the Busoni that year.
Posted by: Gerard12

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/15/13 08:14 AM

A wonderful coup for your interviewing career, vlh.

I wish that Mr. Lowenthal would grace us with a book of writings.
Posted by: vlhorowitz

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/16/13 12:39 PM

Thanks for Davis reference, wr smile

In other news, I had my first opportunity to see the Horowitz piano (314503) in San Francisco yesterday. The lack of respect is just appalling...(I'm sure many of you have already seen this).

https://twitter.com/elijahho/status/291580070273896448/photo/1
Posted by: wr

Re: Interview with Juilliard professor: on Cortot, Kapell, etc. - 01/18/13 07:38 AM

Originally Posted By: vlhorowitz

In other news, I had my first opportunity to see the Horowitz piano (314503) in San Francisco yesterday. The lack of respect is just appalling...(I'm sure many of you have already seen this).

https://twitter.com/elijahho/status/291580070273896448/photo/1


IMO, it's pretty tacky that Steinway is promoting the thing as a sort of weird cross between a cult object and a minor traveling side-show in the first place.