Photographs of Paderewski

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Every week there are newly-offered Paderewski items for sale on eBay. His long career yielded thousands and thousands of pieces of ephemera, programs, Paderewski postcards, Paderewski soap, tobacco cards, coins, candles, postage stamps, newspaper photos, piano rolls, sound recordings. For a long time, I wanted to acquire an old photograph of Ignaz Jan Paderewski. (Is it because I know Horowitz kept a Paderewski photo near his piano?) … [Read more...]

Piano ear

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Pianists may need different kinds of hearing than what's needed to play the violin. Because the tuning of pitch doesn't require constant attentiveness -- I'm convinced there are rather good piano players who actually hear very little of what's happening as they play. More than other musicians, pianists are likely to intone or moan audibly while playing. It's pretty conclusive evidence that whatever those players hear is not objective. The … [Read more...]

Precedent

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Near the beginning of T. S. Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady" there are these lines: "We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips." Were those the celebrated red locks of Paderewski? Like many Poles playing the piano, he specialized in Chopin. There were so many Chopinists in the early years of the twentieth century -- just as sound recording really got going -- that, although we … [Read more...]