Monday, August 25, 2008

Arrau : of his teacher Martin Krause

Krause inculcated a reverence for music, and for music as a calling. He accepted no payment from the Arraus (an example Arrau has followed later in life - he teaches without a fee) . Mindful of his own venerated teachers, Liszt and Carl Reinecke, he taught as one bequeathing a tradition, his students comprised a sort of guild apprenticeship.

Q: Did Krause have any special teaching methods?
A: He believed in practising difficult passages at different speeds, and in different rhythms and in different keys. And then staccato, leggiero, martellato- all sorts of combinations. In fact he always told us that you shouldn't perform a work in public unless you were able to play it ten times as fast and ten times as loud as it would have to be in performance 0 that you only gave the feeling of mastery to an audience if you had tremendous reserves of technique, so that it seemed you could play much faster if you wished, or much louder.

Q: When you began working with Krause, his most famous pupil was Edwin Fischer. Yet Fischer's attitude tward textual fidelity was much different from yours. And he wasn't as polished a technician. Krause must not have stamped his students from a mould.
A: He encouraged thenm to develop their own approach. one thing I remember about him is that he hated people who just played, senselessly. "Klimpern" [tinkling] he called it. And he always said that one should have a general culture base.

He had heard Brahms, Clara Schumann, Carreno, Busoni, Sophie Menter. And of course Liszt. He would speak of Liszt's way of breaking chords, and of trilling. He taught us several ways to break a chord: to start slowly, and then accelerate toward the highest note; or to make a crescendo to the highest note; or to make a diminuendo; or to do it freely, with rubato. but always so that broken chords would have a meaning coming from what went before.


Q: You have said that Krause had you play all the preludes and fugues from the WTC in different keys.
A: Yes in front of all the pupils in the conservatory, he would test whether one could play in another key - usually one very far away, not just one tone or one half-tone. He also insisted on having us memorize single voices. Bach in general was one of the bases of his teaching. In those days, of course, there was no doubt it was correct to play Bach on the piano.

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