Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The piano teacher

Here is something I sometimes walk around thinking about. Consider two great musicians who taught piano, Ludwig van Beethoven and Frederic Chopin.

It is hilarious who was the tough one and who was the softie.

You would think Chopin ...

... would be the softie. He played so soft you could hardly hear it, he looked like a girl (at least in that picture), he wrote those heart-melting nocturnes.

And you would think Beethoven ...

... would be the one yelling at you.

But no, if the books I have read are true, Chopin was the meanie. There are accounts of women leaving their lessons with tears streaming down their faces.

Whereas it was Beethoven who was the cream puff. He fell in love with women he taught piano to, and even the ones he did not fall in love with, he was nice to. You could twist him around your finger, is the impression I get.

It would definitely have been more fun to take lessons from him.

But you would probably learn more from Chopin.

1 comment:

  1. Re your final line: Oh, I don't know. Chopin never turned out a famous pupil. Beethoven did produce Carl Czerny who taught Liszt and Leschetizky who in turn founded two great schools of piano playing and - for that matter - Beethoven interpretation. Just an observation. Maybe Chopin gave so little of himself because he was such a snob. Beethoven had a social climbing side, but was earthier and perhaps more giving in a personal sense. Anyway (to steal the punch line of a joke) I don't want to dig them up over that...