Masterclass Review: John Perry #2

July 7, 2013

by Josh Wright


John Perry never ceases to amaze audiences, and this masterclass was no exception. Students played Beethoven Sonata Op.109, Chopin Ballade No.4, and Chopin Sonata No.2. All performances were skillfully executed and played beautifully, but each student's playing was greatly enhanced by this master teacher's knowledge and instruction.

Various concepts were covered, and a few were particularly noteworthy. On the Beethoven, he unveiled a great truth about how tempo should be fairly even throughout the piece, with some rubato, but that embellishments supersede this rule, and should take time to breathe and express. In the Ballade, he told stories of how publishers of Chopin's works demanded pedal markings, even when Chopin protested, so the pedal markings in the score are often meaningless and haphazard. He relayed a story of how Rachmaninoff's friend was particularly put-off that he wasn't marking pedal in the score, and Rachmaninoff responded that it was impossible to write pedal markings, that it was an art form unto itself. Finally, there was great discussion about keeping an organic tempo throughout the Chopin Sonata.

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