Notes and Editorial Reviews
Picture Format: NTSC 4:3 / Sound Format: Stereo / Region Code: 0 / Duration: 57 minutes / Subtitles: English, German, French / Booklet: English, German, French / Language: French
A film by Francois Manceaux.
Featuring the participation of Olivier Messiaen, Nicholas Angelich, Masaaki Yasuda and Yoko Kaneko.
Edited by Francois Manceaux & Olivier Bernager in partnership with Arte & France Musique.
YVONNE LORIOD, PIANIST & TEACHER
class="ARIAL12"> Nicholas Angelich
, Kei Saotome
, Yoko Kaneko
, Masaaki Yasuda
, Yvonne Loriod
HARMONIA MUNDI 9909032 (DVD: 57:00)
Par lui tout a été fait.
Piano Sonata No. 17:
This excellent video, part of a series of 12 produced between 1987 and 1991 under the collective title
Leçons particulières de musique
for French TV, highlights the charming teaching methods of the highly gifted Yvonne Loriod. Naturally, the bulk of the music presented here is that of her husband, Olivier Messiaen, who also appears as observer of one lesson (that of Nicholas Angelich) and occasional commentator on his compositions, but even if you are not a big Messiaen fan you will undoubtedly find this video fascinating for Loriod’s teaching methods. She is gentle and persuasive in a way that never demeans the student’s efforts yet always illuminating in points of style and phrasing. She allows the student(s) to play the work, or the single movement, completely through, mirroring her content or dissatisfaction on her highly expressive face without saying a word; then, she praises them for what they did right, adding, almost by way of an afterthought, how they might improve on their interpretation. “You know, you really do have to continue this phrase through,” she might say, or, “This tempo has to be a little quicker, you know, more of a walking or marching tempo than a slow one.” She then demonstrates her point at the keyboard and, as good as these students are, there is undeniably more magic when she touches the keyboard than when they do.
Messiaen is a
silent observer of Angelich’s performance, sitting off to the side and reading through the score as he plays, his face an impassive mask revealing nothing. Nor does he venture a comment on Angelich’s playing until the young man addresses him directly. The liner notes explain his reticence. When asked to be present at Angelich’s lesson, he balked: “This is Yvonne Loriod’s film! I will be no more than a bystander!” He eventually agreed to come, but only on that condition that he stayed out of it unless invited into the conversation.
One of her pupils who does not play, but merely converses with her, is Roger Muraro, who thanks her for pointing out some salient features in Chopin’s music. Loriod was very clear in her feeling that her pupils, and indeed all pupils at the conservatory, need to learn the proper style for all three periods of music, the Classical, the Romantic, and the modern. I personally don’t care for
Par lui tout a été fait
, or indeed most of the pieces from this extended suite of Messiaen. Too much of the music, to my ears, is pointlessly ugly, and it never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoy the majority of his orchestral scores but fail to respond to his keyboard works (the pieces for organ, which he wrote for himself, as much as some of the piano music he wrote for Loriod). Yet there is no mistaking that she brought to it a crystalline purity and French lyricism that others always seem to miss. She was a very dear woman and a superb teacher, and this sadly short documentary of her playing and teaching gives you a good sense of her mission.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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