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Tradition and Craft in Piano Playing, by Tilly Fleischmann (Hardback) This is a document of considerable historical importance, offering an authoritative account of Liszt's teaching methods as imparted by two of his former students to whom he was particularly close. Includes DVD with musical examples.

Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing, by Tilly Fleischmann (Hardback)

Edited by : Dr. Ruth Fleischmann and Dr. John Buckley

Publication Date 7th, May, 2014

ISBN 978-1-909325-53-1

Cost €50.00

Tilly Fleischmann née Swertz (1882-1967), who was born in Cork to German parents, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Munich from 1901 to 1905 with two renowned pianists, Bernhard Stavenhagen and Berthold Kellermann, both pupils and close associates of Franz Liszt, who was not only one of the greatest virtuosi of his age, but perhaps the most influential teacher of his time.

Her book, written in the mid-20th century, is now published in full for the first time. It draws on her long experience as performer, broadcaster and pedagogue, and records what she learnt from her teachers about Liszt’s interpretation of the piano music of his contemporaries, in particular of his friend Chopin, how he wanted his own piano works performed, and what special techniques facilitated the interpretations he favoured, as well as his own virtuoso performance. This is presented in discussions of many well-known works of the classical piano repertoire, and richly illustrated with extracts from the compositions in question. These musical examples have been played and video-recorded for the DVD accompanying the book.

This is a document of considerable historical importance, offering an authoritative account of Liszt’s teaching methods as imparted by two of his former students to whom he was particularly close. It contains much valuable information of a kind that is unavailable elsewhere: none of the reminiscences of Liszt published by his students discuss technical matters or interpretation in comparable detail. It records a direct and authentic oral tradition of continental European pianism going back to the nineteenth century.

Includes DVD with examples kindly provided by Gabriela Mayer.



Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing by Tilly Fleischmann

Reviewed by : Dr. Seamus de Barra in 'SoundPost, Autumn 2014


After completing  Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing in the early 1950s, Tilly Fleischmann must have been deeply disappointed when she was informed by the publishers that the costs involved in engraving the 300 muscial examples were found to be prohibitive. The book consequently remained in a manuscript for over sixty years, apart from a radically abridged version privately printed in the early 1980s under the title : 'Aspects of the Liszt Tradition'. Now, however, the complete treatise, edited by Ruth Fleischmann (Tilly Fleischmann's grandaughter) and John Buckly, has at last been made available by Carysfort Press. .........This is a well-designed volume, practically laid out in a format suitable for reading at the keyboard, and both the text and musical examples (which have been typeset and edited by John Buckley) are admirably clear. There is a helpful accompanying DVD in which Gabriela Mayer of the Cork School of Music plays the various examples and demonstrates the author's method, and Patrick Zuk of the University of Durham has written a very informative introduction in which the significance of the book is discussed and its historical context is briefly established.

Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing by Tilly Fleischmann

Reviewed by : Michael Rathke in 'American Music Teacher', The Official Journal of Music Teachers National Association, October/November 2014

Tilly Fleischmann (1882-1967) was a gifted Irish pianist who enioyed a celebrated career as a concert artist, organist, private teacher and piano professor at the conservatory in Cork. Published for the first time in its entirety, Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing relates the author's experience studying piano in Munich with Bernhard Stavenhagen and Berthold Kellermann, both longtime students and colleagues of Franz Liszt.

Although Liszt's contemporaries wrote extensively about his life and music, surprisingly few sources record information on his teaching methods or approach to keyboard technique. In writing her book, Fleischmann set out to share this knowledge while passing along helpful advice for interpreting music by Liszt and other romantic-era composers. The opening section of this comprehensive volume delves into matters of technique. Included are brief technical exercises, along with guidance on tone, practice, fingering, pedaling, memorization and sight-reading. Although the book was completed in the 1950s, the modern reader will discover much that applies to teachers and performers today. A few suggestions have historical value but have fallen out of favor, such as heavy pedaling in Bach, or are virtually unknown like the Klopfübung, a finger-strengthening exercise once popular among Liszt's students. The second section centers on interpretation with frequent reference to musical examples the pianist is likely to encounter in the standard repertoire.

Throughout, Fleischmann advocates a reasoned approach to interpretation based on careful phrasing, colorful use of the pedal and judicious application of rubato. The concluding chapters offer practical guidance for performing and teaching familiar piano works by Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and Liszt. The editors' annotations and translations are helpful in clarifying details, and a DVD featuring Gabriela Meyer's performances of the notated musical examples from the text is included. At times, it can be difficult to sort out whether ideas in the book originate specifically with Liszt, Kellermann, Stavenhagen or the author, but Fleischmann's teaching was a synthesis of all those above and a faithful rendering of knowledge from the Liszt school not far removed from its source. Tradition and Craft is a uniquely important historical work and the primary reference for much of this information on Liszt and his contemporaries. This treatise will be a useful addition to academic research libraries as well as the pianist's personal collection, invaluable for specialists of romantic music.

Pianist John O'Connor on 'Tradition and Craft in Piano-Playing'

Reviewed by : Pianist John O'Connor in 'The Irish Times', June 5th, 2014

"It is a book that I will keep close to me. It is divided into three main sections: 'Technique and Practice', 'Interpretation' and 'Interpretation and Tradition'. The first two are of interest mainly to piano teachers and aspiring pianists. The third is a treasure trove for all lovers of piano music ...

These are chapters that should be read by every lover of the piano music of Chopin and Liszt. ...

The chapter on Liszt is almost like sitting in on lessons of the master himself, and I will treasure these for ever".


About the Author(s)

Dr. Ruth Fleischmann

Ruth Fleischmann is Tilly Fleischmann's eldest grandchild. She was born in Cork in 1942, graduated from University College Cork in a1963 and, having won a Travelling Studentship from the National University of Ireland, continued her studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. In 1968 she began to teach English at third level. From 1981 until her retirement in 2007 she held a lectureship in the English Department of the University of Bielefeld in Germany; during her last years there she was Dean of Studies of her faculty. Her field of research is Irish Studies. She has produced about 40 articles and eight books.

Dr. John Buckley

Born in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick in 1951, John Buckley is a composer and lecturer. His catalogue of compositions extends to over 100 works, which have been performed and broadcast in more than fifty countries worldwide. In 1984 he was elected a member of Aosdána, Ireland's state sponsored academy of creative artists. He has been awarded both a PhD and a DMus by the National University of Ireland and is on the staff of St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin, a college of Dublin City University. A monograph on his work Constellations: The Life and Music of John Buckley by Benjamin Dwyer was published in May 2011 by Carysfort Press.


Table of Contents

There are no Table of Contents for this publication at present.


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