Prelude and Fugue on the theme B.A.C.H, S.462
In this masterclass, Michel Béroff is accompanied by German student Tabea Streicher, who is interpreting Fantasy and Fugue by Franz Liszt, a piece for organ that the composer adapted for piano in 1870. Professor Béroff gives a quick history of the BACH theme and its use in rewriting music. He mentions how different, and maybe how much harder, it is for pianos to have the same dynamic as organs. He then proceeds to give his student a few tips to achieve a richer sound, while paying attention to one's use of the pedals and speed. With this in mind, he asks Streicher to try and find a way to make it sound more like an organ.
When to use pedals to cut or prolong notes,
How to practice and control your footing to achieve a quicker release,
How to sustain which moments or which notes,
How to attenuate differences between organs and pianos.
Les Préludes and Fugue is a piece by Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt that premiered in 1854 in Weimar, in the grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Germany). It is the best known of Liszt’s 13 symphonic poems and is by turns reflective, martial, and majestic.
Liszt drew the piece’s title from a line by French poet Alphonse de Lamartine: “What is life but a series of preludes to that unknown hymn whose first solemn note is intoned by death?”
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Michel Béroff’s feedback and comments.
He won, in 1967, the first prize at the first international Olivier Messiaen piano competition
Michel Beroff was born in France in 1950. After graduating from the Paris conservatoire in 1966, he won the following year the first prize at the first international Olivier Messiaen piano competition. He has been since considered one of the most outstanding interpreter of Messiaen’s music. He then went on to play with the most prestigious orchestras around the world under the direction of such conductors as Abbado, Barenboim, Bernstein, Boulez, Dohnanyi, Dorati, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Gielen, Inbal, Jochum, Leinsdorf, Masur, Ozawa, Previn, Rostropovitch, Sinopoli, Solti, Tennsted, Tilson-Thomas, Zinman. As a chamber music partner , he has been very active playing with Martha Argerich , Barbara Hendricks Jean- Philippe Collard, Augustin Dumay, Pierre Amoyal, Lynn Harrell.
As a conductor, Michel Beroff has been conducting the chamber orchestra de la Scala de Milano, the Russian state Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Cannes chamber orchestra, the Berkeley symphony, the Montréal youth orchestra.
Professor Emeritus at the Paris Conservatoire, where he taught for 25 years, Michel Béroff is giving regular master classes in many countries, including Japan, China, USA, Italy, Germany and France.
Exclusive EMI artist for over 25 years, Michel Beroff has published more than 50 recordings ; among them the complete works for piano and orchestra from Liszt, Prokofieff and Stravinsky , conducted by Seiji Ozawa and Kurt Masur. For Deutsche Grammophon, he has recorded Ravel’s left hand concerto with the LSO and Claudio Abbado. His latest recordings include the complete piano music from Debussy. Michel Beroff has been awarded five times the “Grand Prix du Disque”.
As a publisher, he participated for Wiener Urtext , to a new edition of Debussy’s piano music. For the japanese network NHK, he realized, in 2006, a serie of fifteen master-classes on french music.
As a jury member, he has been serving in many important piano competitions, including Tchaikovsky, Van Cliburn, Leeds, Clara Haskil, Rubinstein, and Marguerite Long competitions, among others. Many of his students have won top prizes at international competitions ; the latest one is SeongJin CHO, who won the Chopin competition in Warsaw.
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a Hungarian composer, piano virtuoso, and educator, now regarded as one of the greatest pianists in history and a leader in the Romantic movement. His father was an amateur musician who began teaching Liszt the piano after noticing the young boy’s strong interest in music. It was apparent from an early age that Liszt’s talent was prodigious; by age eight, he had mastered most of the major piano works and had begun composing. Liszt’s father sacrificed his own work to take his son to study the piano with Carl Czerny in Vienna and to perform in concerts around Austria and Hungary. By 1823, Liszt had published his first composition and established a reputation for himself as a virtuoso.
In 1827, Liszt’s father unexpectedly died, leading to an aimless period in Liszt’s life where he taught piano for money but did little composing or performing. In 1830, after witnessing the French “July Revolution” and becoming acquainted with Berlioz and his music, particularly Symphonie Fantastique, Liszt was newly inspired as a musician. In 1832, he heard Paganini perform at a benefit concert, causing him to commit to becoming as successful a pianist as Paganini was a violinist.
Liszt toured Europe as a pianist for many years, achieving celebrity status in Europe and establishing a precedent for performance that pianists would follow for many years to come. In 1848, after meeting and falling in love with the Polish Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, he was persuaded to give up his performance career and take on the position of Kapellmeister at Weimar. There, he worked as a conductor, establishing many techniques that conductors still use today, helped promote the careers of composers such as Berlioz and Wagner, and composed. It was during this time that he created the form of a symphonic poem, a one-movement dramatic work with roots in sonata form and opera, and the compositional method “transformation of themes.” He also composed his B minor Sonata for piano, perhaps his best-known work.
After the death of two of his children, Liszt left Weimar for Rome, where he lived a quiet life in a monastery, becoming deeply involved in the church. However, he was eventually offered teaching posts in both Weimar and Budapest, leading him to split his time between those two cities and Rome. He never charged money for his lessons and became passionate about reforming musical education, particularly in Hungary. In 1881, Liszt’s health took a turn for the worse, leading to a period of depression, reflected in his compositions. He died of pneumonia in 1886, though his legacy in composition, education, and conducting all live on.