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RE: Charles Rosen on Playing the Piano

> ----------
> From: 	Claude B. Zachary[SMTP:czachary@usc.edu]
> Sent: 	20 October 1999 17:36
> To: 	f_minor@email.rutgers.edu
> Subject: 	GG: Charles Rosen on Playing the Piano
> The height at which one sits does affect the style of
>  performance. It is difficult, for example, when one is
>  sitting very low, to play bursts of virtuoso octaves
>  fortissimo, as with the following famous passage of the
>  Tchaikovsky concerto in B-flat minor: 
Yes it's hard, but Horowitz certainly had no trouble (I haven't heard them
much faster than in his recordings) and sat much lower than is standard.
Apparently Louis Kentner also sat very low, yet specialised in Liszt.

>  That is one aspect of piano technique that Glenn Gould,
>  for example, could not deal with. (A recording engineer
>  at CBS Records told me that when Gould recorded
>  Liszt's arrangement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5,
>  he first recorded some of the virtuoso octaves in the
>  right hand by using both hands and overdubbed the left
>  hand afterward.) Nevertheless, the low seated position
>  enabled Gould to achieve a beautiful technical control
>  of rapid passage-work with different kinds of touch.
Does this mean in this particular recording or generally? I certainly agree
that a low position benefited his Bach, but if this refers to the particular
recording I would disagree that it aids different kinds of touch. Although I
admire the recording in many ways I would not say that variety of tone is
one of it's strengths. A more colourful recording is that by Cyprien
Katsaris. It has a rather clangorous fortissimo (due to the engineers I
believe) but sounds much more orchestral than Gould's recording (it's still
less interesting than GG's version though).
	Personally I believe in a stool which is low enough to play scales
with the wrist below the keys, but not as low as Gould's which prevents both
tonal control and speed in fast chordal passages (this is not a problem in
Bach of course). I would say that Horowitz sits at just the right height in
relation to the keyboard (for my style of playing anyway- there is obviously
no right or wrong method).