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A few weeks ago, I read through the paper and saw that Valentina would be playing Saints-Saens 2 with the local symphonia here, and I thought to myself... If I was able to contact Jeffrey Biegel and Tommy Otten for a lesson while they were there..... why not Valentina Lisitsa!?!?
My teacher and I emailed her website address as well as her agent and got a really warmhearted response from Val herself. She said she'd love to do a class and if she could... even perform some infront of us as she's working on alot of pieces.
Last Monday I went to see her play the Saints-Saens... very well done except for some missed notes in the first movement and a wrong entrance in the 3rd... but heck, i couldn't have done better . At intermission, my teacher and I rushed backstage to get to talk to her in person. WHAT A DOWN TO EARTH PERSON! Never have I met someone so humble about their gifts. She was really worried about where to practice so we set something up for a few days last week at a retirement community on their Yamaha grand (forget what size).
Tueday she played S-S again and knocked it out of the park! She did a fantastic job... more relaxed and soooo clean.
On Wednesday night... my teacher and I went to watch her practice and get some pointers. I played the end of the Mendelssohn concerto and she gave me some great suggestions on how I could be sitting a little high for my height and how posture really afects the touch at the piano. Then my favorite part of all... she let us stay and watch her practice for three hours! Greatest practice session of my life! She played Rach3 minus orchestra for us and it was almost as perfect as it could be. She then played some Beethoven sonatas that she was going to perform later that week. Wonderful!
Here are some videos from said practice:
It's fun meeting a star that doesn't act like a star.
One thing about her that impressed me was how she can get a good tone out of any piano. When we were at Cathy Harl's shop, she and her husband were playing on some of the cheapest pianos there -- little Chinese baby grands -- and they sounded almost as good as they did on the Boesendorfers. She really has that Russian-style technique drilled into her muscles (but not in a bad way!).
@plus - my "oldschool" flip phone only takes about 15 seconds of video. She played the entire sonata and probably no more than 3 slips for the entire piece. Very well done.
@PianoAgain - Val made a big point that she does not "subscribe to the Russian piano technique" . She further explained that "in Russian piano technique you play with your behind". It was interesting to see how she sits lower on purpose to use less behind i guess haha.
She also was able to blend with the smallish orchestra during the Saint-Saens soooo well. She can hear her volume and adjust I'm guessing.
@Drunk The funniest part of the night was her husband and 4 year old son showed up at the end of her practice that night. her son runs up and jumps in her lap, begging to play RAch 3. She played the entire first movement again for us... with her son in her lap. So funny. My teachers got a picture or a video of it... i'll try to get that from her and upload that.
Hola Guys!...Then my favorite part of all... she let us stay and watch her practice for three hours! ...
It would've been more impressive if she had watched you practice for three hours.
I once sat in a on a revolving three hour penny-ante card game with Horowitz, some piano technicians, a Borscht belt comedian, and a Juliard alum or two over Pastrami sandwiches and Dr, Brown's cream sodas in the basement of Steinway Hall in my youth.
Actually, almost opposite BDB for when i saw her. She had a concert coming up in in 4 days at that point. So she ran all the way through three Beethoven sonatas start to finish , the Rach concerto, and then moment musicals. This was pretty late in the evening though 730-1030. No idea what she had been doing earlier. My teacher offered her house to practice originally but she needed 12 hours! a day to run through the 5 and a half hours of music she's got to play for the rest of this year.
That's a fantastic story, and I love the pic with her son. Imagine having 5 bosendorfers at home to choose from when learning twinkle twinkle little star. I have to choose the etude-tableau 39/6 as my favotire classic lisitsa performance though. She plays it better than Rach IMHO. *struck down by lightning*
Bach French Suites No. 6, Allemande and Gigue, Beethoven's Pathetique, Chopin Nocturne 72/1, Fantaisie-Impromptu, Debussy's First Arabesque, Takacs Toccata Op 54, Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableau 33/8.