Thursday, April 24, 2014

Talking to Piers Adams, recorder player and member of the Red Priest Baroque Ensemble

On March 1st 2014 British recorder player Piers Adams and I met in the lounge of the Dan Eilat
Hotel, where the “Red Priest” Baroque Ensemble had given two performances at the Eilat Chamber Music Festival. Members of the ensemble are Julia Bishop-violin, Angela East-‘cello, David Wright-harpsichord and Piers Adams-recorder.

PH: Piers Adams, where did you grow up?

Piers Adams: I was brought up in the Home Counties of England and I now live in the historic town of Lewes in Sussex.

PH: When did you start playing the recorder?

PA: Not that early – when I was about ten in school classroom lessons. Then I had a music teacher at my secondary school who was a big admirer of David Munrow and had all his recordings. Just after David Munrow died, the teacher started an early music group at the school. We had a chest of crumhorns and some wonderful old instruments. He picked me out and suggested I join the group. He was very inspirational, actually, and it is because of him that I am where I am now.

PH: Did you study music at university?

PA: No. I studied physics at university and only then went on the Guildhall School of Music to do a year of post-graduate early music. Then I had private recorder lessons in Italy with Kees Boeke. (He had been one of Frans Brüggen’s students). Not an extensive training; the rest I learned “on the job”. I think my main training was listening to Frans Brüggen recordings in my teens; that is how I got the sound and the feel of the recorder.

PH: In “Venetian Carnival” and “Handel in the Wind” you were playing a huge range of recorders.

PA: I play a lot of recorders. Some of them, the keyed instruments, are modern recorders with a larger sound. This is very important as we play in bigger concert halls than in Baroque times. Some of these were made by Dutch recorder-builder Adriana Breukink. She has developed an instrument which is a kind of hybrid. It has the bore of a Renaissance instrument. Renaissance recorders had a bigger sound than Baroque recorders, when dimensions got smaller and became more refined. So she has taken the model of the Renaissance recorder and added to it and maximized it; she has done some clever tricks with it. She calls it the “Eagle” recorder. They take a lot of work to control them, but they are rewarding and sound very good.

PH: Well, the “Red Priest” performances of Baroque music we heard at the festival are not what you would call mainstream.

PA: I guess not. We have actually got quite used to it now, but it seems that not everybody else has.

PH: Does your approach come under fire from the more conservative listener?

PA: Occasionally. People are entitled to their own opinion and even not to like our performance, but most people realize that what they are coming to hear is not going to be mainstream. We are quite happy with the 95% of positive reviews. There have been people who miss the point of what we are doing and see us as not serious, that we are messing around, but the truth is that we take our performance very seriously. You can even take your humor seriously. I think you can guess that In the Baroque period people were funny; they were wild, wacky and trying things out. They would go through such a range of emotions even as they performed: every moment had to be different and surprising things would happen all the time. You have got to imagine yourself in the mood of that day, rather than looking at it like in a glass case in a museum and thinking at that is how it has to be played and that it will never change from that. What was really was about was changing things and taking people by surprise and jarring an emotional response from them. We do use some humor but we use a lot of other things as well.

PH: When is it a good interpretation and when is it over the top?

PA: That is a hard question to answer because we try to be totally free but try to preserve a core in everything we do. If we let everything go wild, I think we would lose it. So we try to keep to 60% or 70% of what we consider to be hard core Baroque playing, with the rhetorical devices, ornamentation etc. For the other 30% we can just do our own thing. It is hard to say; we do start with the music and then we think about what to do with it, how to present something different. We try lots and lots of different things but what we decide on is definitely suggested by the music. Take, for example, “The Potter’s Vessel” from “Messiah”; we started it really slowly and then sped it up a lot, just like a gypsy piece. I think that when you are translating a large-scale piece to a smaller ensemble, you will end up with a very pale imitation of it if you do not do something different with it.

PH: Do you ever change you take on a work after a while?

PA: Sometimes, but we are more interested in moving on and doing new pieces. There is a huge amount of work to get to this stage and, as we do so much from memory, it is hard work to put in a tiny change.

PH: In rehearsing, is the input from all of you?

PA: Yes it is, so rehearsal is a messy affair with lots of arguments, and occasionally storming out if people’s ideas not being taken seriously!

PH: How often do you rehearse?

PA: With a new project coming up we will rehearse a couple of times a week for a month or two. It has taken us around six months to put the new “Händel in the Wind” program together.

PH: In what kinds of venues do you perform? And in what countries?

PA: A complete mix. Because we obviously have a slight crossover appeal we will end up in theatres where we are the only classical music act, but sometimes we are in very mainstream classical series; it can be anything and everything. We never quite know. We do some 30% to 40% of performances in England, 25% in Europe, particularly in Germany and Italy, we usually do to USA concert tours a year and maybe once a year to the Far East. So it is quite busy!

PH: How long has “Red Priest” existed?

PA: We have been going for 17 years. David Wright is our third harpsichordist. Our first unfortunately died very young, our second harpsichordist played with us for ten years but decided he wanted a quieter life and we linked up with David three years ago.

PH: Do you teach?

PA: Not at the moment. I have in the past but decided to give it up when the group got going.

PH: Piers, your work with Red Priest is most thought-provoking. Many thanks for the interview and for sharing your ideas.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A meeting with violinist Carol Lieberman (USA)

On March 9th 2014 I met with violinist Carol Lieberman (USA), in Jerusalem together with her husband, harpsichordist Mark Kroll. Ms. Lieberman was in Israel to perform, hold master classes and meet with colleagues, some of whom she had met in Israel in 1967, 47 years ago, when she was playing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. One of America’s leading exponents of Baroque music, Carol Lieberman is equally acclaimed for her performance of 19th and 20th century violin repertoire. She frequently lectures on violin performance practice, including vibrato and bow technique and has given master classes in Poland, Israel, France and England, recently delivering a lecture-recital titled “Vibrato in the Franco-Belgian School from G.B.Viotti to E. Ysaye” in La Spezia, Italy.

PH: Carol Lieberman, would you like to talk about your early musical experiences?

CL: I do not come from a musical family, but my older brother was given a violin by my grandfather and he began studying it. I then immediately demanded a violin for myself, but was only four years old and was too young. So I waited until I was six and then began learning the violin.

PH: Where did you grow up?

CL: In the Bronx, New York. I went to the Manhattan School of Music (preparatory division), the High School of Art (now called LaGuardia High School), then to City College (New York) and finally to Yale University for my doctorate.

PH: Was City College the right place for music then?

CL: Absolutely! We had a lot of refugees who had come before World War II. They were all Jews who had come from Vienna or Hungary and they were fine musicians. So the music department was phenomenal. For example, I played my senior recital with Fritz Jahoda (who had been conductor of the Vienna Opera). I also worked with the great ‘cellist Otto Deri, violinist Felix Galimir and other great names, all music professors at City College.

PH: So your undergraduate studies were in modern violin.

CL: My studies were in modern violin, but I actually got my B.A. in history! When I came to Yale, I was playing all the great violin concertos of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Bartok, etc. And then I met Mark. I continued playing modern violin (and still do), but then began playing Baroque violin.

PH: How did you find the transition to Baroque violin?

CL: To the instrument, it was easy. The two different pitches (i.e. a=451.3 and 440) were no problem since I already had perfect pitch. Now I can play at any pitch. There are also different Baroque bows for each national style and period. The violin is different as well.

PH: Do you teach Baroque violin?

CL: Yes. For more than 20 years, I taught Baroque violin and chamber music at the Boston University School of Music, while also teaching at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester (Massachusetts, USA), a Jesuit school where I have taught for 27 years. I am a professor there and teach music history and theory, direct the Holy Cross Chamber Players and sometimes take private violin students.

PH: Are you a violist?

CL: Yes, I love playing the viola, too. In fact, I have just bought a beautiful new instrument, which fits me beautifully.

PH: Would you like to mention the instruments you play on, both modern and Baroque?

CL: Gladly. My favorite violin is older than my “Baroque” violin. It is a Ferdinand Gagliano (1746). I also have several bows, including some lovely ones by Tubbs and Vuillaume. My Baroque violin is an anonymous instrument, probably German from about 1780, which I found in its original condition, with layers of dust on it. Your readers might also be interested in knowing that there were definite marks on both sides of the tailpiece, proving that the violin was held under the chin at that time, and on either side!

PH: On what are you currently focusing in your performing?

CL: Right now, a lot of chamber music on modern violin. My next concert features the Mendelssohn Piano Trio in d minor and the string trio transcription of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with a pianist who will be playing the original variations. I also play a lot of contemporary repertoire for violin and harpsichord with Mark, such as Walter Piston’s Sonatina for Violin and Harpsichord, which we have recorded, and also works by Vittorio Rieti and Viktor Kalabis, the late Czech composer who was married to the great harpsichordist Zuzana Ruzickova, a Holocaust survivor still living in Prague.

PH: And Baroque violin?

CL: I perform Baroque music with Mark, of course, and our repertoire now spans the entire 17th and 18th centuries and well into the 19th century, with works of Beethoven, Schubert and Hummel. Our next concert is on July 17th at the Newport Music Festival (Rhode Island). We will play two Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord and I will play the Bach Chaconne for solo violin.

PH: Do you find the concert-going public open to hearing modern works with which they are not familiar?

CL: Yes, at least in the major cities and also because we always pair these works with more familiar repertoire. Actually, I find audiences do enjoy the modern repertoire.

PH: What have you and Mark been recording recently?

CL: Our most recent recording is of Biber’s Sonate Solo of 1681, eight secular sonatas that are very different to Biber’s more famous so-called Mystery Sonatas. There is nothing “mysterious” about the 1681 sonatas; they are beautiful and very difficult. They feature a great deal of virtuosic violin writing. This is not surprising since Biber was a great violinist, one of the greatest of his time. Not many violinists play these difficult works.

PH: How do you explain that?

CL: If you are a “real” modern violinist and can play the Tchaikovsky-, the Sibelius- and Brahms- and Mendelssohn violin concertos, then you can play the great violin Baroque repertoire. Unfortunately, most Baroque violinists (including many who have come to me as students) have not had that training, the kind that prepares you for all the violin repertoire. Also, too much Baroque violin playing has become codified: everyone plays that same way, even though they do not know why they are playing that way. What young violinists have forgotten is that the only real musical model for instrumental music is the human voice. For example, someone who is playing totally without vibrato has not read the treatises of the time, where musicians describe how and where to play vibrato, often referred to as “tremolo” or in other terms. Vibrato was not invented in the 20th century.

PH: Where do you think we now stand in violin-playing regarding the authentic movement?

CL: I have to say that I am not fond of the word “authentic”. There were so many styles of Baroque playing – German, French, Italian – all were different, with different ways of performing, interpreting and ornamenting. I think many violinists have become stuck in one way of playing, believing that that is what “authentic” means and that they will not be hired for ensembles if they play differently and not according to the “accepted” style. Those Baroque violinists with limited skills will accept anything they are told and do not have the ability to be expressive, interpret and think for themselves. For example, there has been much emphasis on playing Baroque music short and fast. Where does legato playing come in? I would like to see a lot of different styles of playing. I like the way I play, but I would like to hear other people who play differently. Baroque musicians wrote treatises and they all said different things. How can you play French Baroque music without reading Couperin’s treatises? We hear much too much Baroque violin playing that all sounds the same.

PH: Professor Lieberman, what kind of music do you listen to for relaxation?

CL: To be totally honest, since I am involved in music seven days a week, teaching and playing, to relax I usually read novels or go to a movie or museum with Mark.

PH: Carol Lieberman, many thanks for giving of your time. It has been very interesting talking to you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Talking to harpsichordist Mark Kroll

On March 9th 2014, I met with harpsichordist Mark Kroll in a peaceful garden café in Jerusalem. Accompanied by his wife, violinist Carol Lieberman, Maestro Kroll was in Israel to perform, hold master classes, record and visit with colleagues. Mark Kroll has earned worldwide recognition as a harpsichordist, scholar, and educator in a career spanning more than 40 years. Professor emeritus at Boston University, he has published scholarly editions of the music of Hummel, Geminiani, Charles Avison and Francesco Scarlatti and is the author of several books.

PH: Mark Kroll, do you come from a musical family?

Mark Kroll: Yes. Musical, but not a family of professional musicians. My father never took lessons but he always played the piano. He played by ear. My mother was a poet of sorts and she loved to write. Together they wrote Broadway-style songs of the ‘40s and ‘50s. They had an arranger. The songs were really very, very good! I even have a little demo recording they made of them. They were hoping to break into Broadway, but they did not manage to. That was the music with which I grew up, plus, of course, the major classical repertoire. My parents also took me to live performances as often as they could, including Leonard Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts”.

PH: When did you start playing music?

MK: In those days everyone had a piano and every Jewish boy and girl learned to play an instrument. I started piano lessons at age six. I was a pianist and, till age 15; all I wanted to play was Khachaturian, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.

PH: When did you start playing the harpsichord?

MK: I heard the harpsichord when I was 15 and at age 17 I simply switched to it. That was in 1963. I started taking private harpsichord lessons in New York, where I grew up. Where I was studying at Brooklyn College there were no harpsichord lessons, but it was there that I learned to play basso continuo; we did a lot of early music there, even with some members of Noah Greenberg’s “New York Pro Musica” who were on the faculty. My first harpsichord teacher was Louis Bagger. I was 17 and knew little of anything about the harpsichord. I also started “jobbing” (freelancing) at the time, including several gigs at Carnegie Hall and Town Halls.

PH: Tell me about Louis Bagger.

MK: He is not so well known today. He was a large man, learned and eccentric, a typical upper west-side New Yorker. He lived in a big, old apartment with floor-to-ceiling books and cats everywhere. Sometimes when he opened a harpsichord there would be a cat sleeping inside. He taught me everything that I needed to know in the beginning about articulation. He had worked with both Leonhardt and Kirkpatrick. He really gave me an idea about what touch, sensitive articulation and expressive playing are. He was the scariest guy I had worked with up to that time but a good teacher.

PH: Where did you continue harpsichord studies?

MK: After graduating from Brooklyn College, I decided to audition to take graduate studies with Ralph Kirkpatrick at Yale University.

PH: What do you remember about the audition?

MK: I took the bus from New York to New Haven, Connecticut. I had a 5 o’clock audition. Walking in at 4:50, he was still giving a lesson. There I was, waiting to play for the greatest harpsichordists in the world…the harpsichordist who had recorded all the works of Bach twice – once on harpsichord and once on clavichord – and who had written the book on Domenico Scarlatti. I stood there asking myself what I was doing there and almost walked out! Kirkpatrick was trained as an art historian and I love engravings, so, for the first hour of our meeting, we had a discussion in German about Dürer and 16th century engravers. Finally, going to the harpsichord, he asked if I could read a figured bass. Luckily, I had been doing that and, for the next hour, he had me reading figured basses. Then he brought out the score of the Bach c minor Violin and Harpsichord Sonata, requesting that I play the harpsichord part and sing the top line. He then gave me a fugue to play, asking me to sing the tenor line and play the other three parts; that was the third hour. He then asked me what I had brought to play for him, but by that time I was so exhausted I was not sure I could have played a c major scale! After finishing, I was convinced he would never accept me as a student, but as he walked me out, he said “I look forward to seeing you next year”. I received a full scholarship to study with Ralph Kirkpatrick.

PH: Tell me about studying with Kirkpatrick.

MK: That was an experience! Lessons could be anywhere from one to six hours. He had two students; those were the days when a full professor had two students! Lessons with him were just like that audition. They were always on Fridays and I was so nervous before them…two years of never sleeping on Thursday nights. But we would work on the music of Scarlatti, Bach, Couperin, Froberger, William Byrd – you name it - in ways few do nowadays. He would also tell me about how he went into the Marciana Library in Venice and how he first saw the Scarlatti manuscripts. We used to look at the copies he had made of them in 1946 and 1947.

PH: Your teaching methods are similar to his.

MK: Correct. Because it worked and still does. Kirkpatrick’s methodology is all set out in the introduction to his Schirmer edition of the “60 Scarlatti Sonatas”. For example, he wrote that the way to understand the melodic contour of a phrase is to sing it; to understand the rhythmic nature of a phrase - dance it. And that is what we did in his lessons. His knowledge was significant but he never actually taught “technique”. He simply got rid of any student within a year who did not have adequate technique. His was the old method of teaching. You had to be tough and accept his way of teaching. For example, before my first recital, I played him the whole of the Bach Partita in D major, with repeats, – all 35 minutes of it. After sitting there for a while he looked up and said “Well, you have proved to me that you are not totally unmusical.” This, by the way, was a compliment! In those two years of tension and stress, I learned more about music than I had in the previous twenty! And, deep down, I know he was fond of me.

PH: Yale University is known for its musical instrument collection.

MK: Indeed. Its keyboard collection is one of the best in the world – in particular, a wonderful collection of harpsichords.

PH: Did you stay in touch with Kirkpatrick?

MK: Well, he was not the warmest of people. We lost touch, although we did speak several times in 1981, when I invited him to play a solo recital at the first Boston Early Music Festival, which, by the way, I founded along with Friedrich and Inge von Huene and Scott Kosofsky. I then called him a year or so before he died…perhaps in 1984. He said he had heard my recording of Scarlatti and thought it was very good. I think that was the first real compliment I had ever received from him.

PH: What followed your graduate studies?

MK: The first teaching job I had was at the University of California, Santa Cruz and I went up and down the coast performing. It is one thing to know how to play the harpsichord. Now I was learning the art of recitals. I then moved to Toronto, as that was where my wife Carol Lieberman was teaching. We gave the first ever Baroque violin and harpsichord recital in Toronto. We also recorded a lot for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Then I moved to Boston and gave a debut recital there and in New York. Boston at that time was so exciting for harpsichordists; Boston had 11 full-time harpsichord builders and, during these golden years, there was a harpsichord recital every week. I got the job teaching at Boston University and built up my program in harpsichord and historical performance there; I retired to do more performing and writing.

PH: Can you talk about your performing career?

MK: I started by playing in the United States, then performing in Europe and South America and then on to the Middle East and Asia. We (Carol and I) were actually the first American Baroque violinist and harpsichordist to play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They tell me I am the first American harpsichordist to have played in Bangkok. And I always teach wherever I go. I have played in Hong Kong, where there has been much harpsichord activity and there are some fine harpsichords there. I have played a lot of recitals and concertos (both Baroque and contemporary) and, since 1979, I have been harpsichordist for the Boston Symphony.

PH: What about contemporary music?

MK: I perform a lot of contemporary music. One of the things I wrote in my book on harpsichord playing is that the harpsichord died and had needed revival once and that, if we do not write music for it now, it will die again. Well, this may be an exaggeration but by playing the music written for it and encouraging composers means that it becomes a viable- and not a just historical instrument, with equal rights with other instruments like the piano, violin or other “mainstream” instruments.

PH: You did not come out of the European early music revival.

MK: No, I did not. Many people think it came out of Europe. For example, a lot of people like to think that early music was “invented” in Amsterdam or Vienna in the 1960s or England in the ‘70s. It was not invented anywhere. In fact, during the ‘50s and ‘60s we were at the forefront in America. I myself had an antique style harpsichord in 1963 - a copy of a Flemish instrument built by William Hyman!

PH: What repertoire do you like to play most?

MK: More than any other repertoire, I love to play François Couperin’s “Pièces de Clavecin”. I feel I understand this music. There is no doubt that this is the finest Baroque harpsichord music. Nothing is better written for the instrument. It is also guaranteed to draw the fewest people to a concert. Bach and Scarlatti will draw the most. Well, having studied with Kirkpatrick, I of course play their music, but also the great works from the 16th and 17th centuries, those of Byrd, Frescobaldi, Froberger, Louis Couperin and Chambonnières. Incidentally, Kirkpatrick was especially fond of Chambonnières’ music.

PH: I understand you play a lot of solo recitals.

MK: Yes, but not just. I do a lot of duo work with my wife, violinist Carol Lieberman. We met at Yale as graduate students in 1969; we played some good gigs, mostly performing at weddings for 25 dollars a night. At that time, Carol was the top violinist at Yale, going for her doctorate.

PH: In Baroque violin?

MK: No, in modern violin. But I led her astray! And we have since played Baroque music all over the world, while Carol also continues on “modern” violin, playing Brahms, Bartok, Messiaen and Carter.

PH: Tell me something about your duo repertoire.

MK: Our first recording was of the sonatas of Simon Leduc…mid-1740s French sonatas, fabulous music, almost Classical, with fine violin- and continuo writing. We also made one of the earliest recordings of all the Bach violin sonatas on Baroque violin. That was in 1974. We did a lot of recording in those years. Apart from the major repertoire, Carol and I have also performed wonderful sonatas for obbligato harpsichord and violin by C.P.E.Bach, J.C.Bach and J-J.Mondonville, plus lots of Biber and even some violin (!) sonatas of D.Scarlatti. Apart from performing with Carol, I have close colleagues in Germany; I play a lot there with a superb gamba player and Baroque ‘cellist - Thomas Fritzsch. We play with colleagues in England and we have played a lot in Rome. In the 1970s, after playing in the Palazzo della Cancelleria (Palace of the Chancellery), I was told that that was where Corelli had played. Because of its fine acoustics, that was the first time I really heard what the harpsichord was supposed to sound like: the building has frescos, hard walls everywhere, marble floors and ceilings at least 40 feet tall. We played in Europe as much as we could, not only because of good audiences but also because of better acoustic spaces.

PH: What about the fortepiano and other early pianos?

MK: I have a copy of a Johann Andreas Stein five-octave fortepiano, a copy of an 1805 Anton Walter fortepiano (5½ octaves) and our latest treasure is an 1842 Pleyel on which Chopin played! Carol and I recorded the Schubert Sonatinas on fortepiano and we plan to record Schumann and Moscheles – on the Pleyel.

PH: What are your expectations of the harpsichord?

MK: I always expect the harpsichord to be an extremely expressive instrument: that is not done with agogic accents, with pushing and pulling the tempo but with subtle articulation. The basic sound of the piano and harpsichord involves decay; you play with the silences that occur between the notes. This trait is not exploited as much as it could be. For example, François Couperin spoke of music having its prose and its poetry. My teacher always taught me, as I also teach my students, that the harpsichord has vowels and consonants. When I teach, I have my pupils make up words to the piece they are learning and then try to make the harpsichord do the same. Sometimes I sing the student a song in French or German and then request them to play the harpsichord that way. The student has to believe the instrument can reproduce these things. When I ask them to make the harpsichord sing, I really mean it!

PH: What prompted you to write “Playing the Harpsichord Expressively”?

MK: On retiring from teaching, I worried that nobody would continue my way of playing and teaching, so my colleagues suggested I write a book. I thought they were crazy. How can you put in print all that you do in person by showing, playing and explaining? Well, I seem to have succeeded. It is basically a giant lesson presented exactly how I teach and play, including lots of historical information to back up what I am teaching and why. It was not an easy task as one wants to show things. Of the 100 pages, half are filled with examples. I wrote it so that people could put it on the harpsichord and go through it step by step. It got good responses and I am proud that a young French harpsichord teacher is translating it into French.

PH: You have been involved with J.N.Hummel’s music.

MK: Yes, first through his transcriptions. In the late 1990s, I became fascinated to know who this person was and did a lot of research on him. A student of Mozart, he lived with his teacher from age 8 to ten. Haydn’s successor at the Esterházy estate, Hummel wrote Masses and choral music, the latter genre being considered his best music. Schubert modeled his “Trout” Quintet on Hummel’s quintet version of his Septet op.74. The more I listen to Hummel’s “real” music I realize that he was a major musical figure too few people know about - not only as a very fine composer (well, less than Beethoven) but the most famous musician and pianist in Europe. He was a virtuoso pianist and his writing for the piano was accordingly difficult. The German teacher and writer Karl Friedrich Zelter claimed that Hummel, in hindsight, was the first Liszt. When I wrote my Hummel biography, there was only one piece everybody knew – the Trumpet Concerto. But he has written some wonderful piano concertos, including the A minor piano concerto, which was traditionally played by 19th century virtuoso pianists making their debut, among them, Schumann, Clara Schumann, Franck, Grieg, Brahms and Liszt. He also wrote lots of great and extremely virtuosic piano music. He was an influential teacher, writing a very large treatise on playing the piano which included 2000 exercises!

PH: On what piano would Hummel have played?

MK: He played on a wide range, often whatever was available to him on his many tours, like Broadwoods, Grafs, Pleyels and Erards. You need 6½ octaves to play Hummel’s music; these pianos had that range.

PH: What are you writing at the moment?

MK: A biography of another great musician - Ignaz Moscheles. It is being published in November of this year. Moscheles was Jewish, the son of a cloth merchant. He married Charlotte Emden, from the prestigious Emden family in Hamburg, also Jewish. Moscheles and his wife converted to Christianity (as did Mendelssohn), raised four wonderful children and lived a long happy life. His daughter Emily, a virtuoso, studied with Chopin. At a young age, she played the very challenging Mendelssohn d minor Piano Trio with Joachim. Another daughter, Clara, sang for Rossini. In his last 14 years, Moscheles taught at the Leipzig Conservatory, where his students were Sir Arthur Sullivan, Edvard Grieg and Sir George Henschel. (Henschel was a conductor of the Boston Symphony for a while.) Moscheles and Mendelssohn were very close friends – I have devoted an entire chapter to that friendship. In his diary, in 1824, Moscheles wrote about meeting the Mendelssohn family in Berlin, referring to it as “a family like no other”. As I conclude in my Preface to this book, Moscheles was a superb musician and a superb human being who was and remains a man worth knowing.

PH: Mark Kroll, many thanks for giving of your time and sharing so much interesting information.