Saturday, January 16, 2010

Goddard Lieberson - A Rather Unique Course for Piano

Goddard Lieberson was president of Columbia Records for about fifteen years, and pioneered in producing several musicals on the then new LP record disc; as a matter of fact, he was one of the leading exponents of this defining recording medium.
He was also a composer, and one of his contributions to the art of pedagogy was a rather individualized approach to the enriching of the repertoire.
I'm thinking of a three volume lexicon, titled "Piano Pieces for Advanced Children or Retarded Adults."
As many of you know, Mendelssohn wrote several dozen little masterpieces called "Songs Without Words." Lieberson goes one step past Mendelssohn by giving the first book in his series a title; namely, "Five Songs Without Mendelssohn." The five songs are "Whistling Boy on Horseback; The Same Boy, Five Years Later in Paris; My Neighbor Studies Voice; My Father Plays Pizzicato; and, An Aimless Walk in the Park."
Book Two contains "six technical studies which will teach you nothing."
Book Three gives you "eight studies in musicology which will teach you a great deal."
Some titles in book three include "How to Handel a Bach Violin Solo; How to be a Soviet Composer; Shostakovich's Vacation on a Collective Farm; and, Liszt, my Children."
Seems to me rather obvious that Lieberson was not without a sense of humor, which he lovingly directed toward his great love for music.
I have the first volume, and invite those of you with musicological curiosity to pursue these delightful "tomes."

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