Tuesday, December 27

Kaczynski and Nino Rota Duet for 2 oboes (3/3)… but 2nd recording made…

Nino Rota : Vecchio Carillon: old music box
I wanted this recording out for Christmas, but at 30 minutes a day, it was just not possible. In fact, I did the 3rd duet before the 2nd because the rhythm in both cases is just plain murder, and the 2nd is the hardest! The oboe 1 and oboe 2 parts are easy enough, each by itself…. but putting them both together might just be the most difficult things I have ever played! I guess this is where it becomes really obvious that, if I was ever professional grade, I certainly am not anymore!

blue_1whiteBandMultitrack Recording to correct rhythm trouble

For the past month, my 30 minutes a day consisted of long-tones to beef-up breathing and embouchure, then going straight to the recording device! Practicing these tunes with a metronome is just plain useless because it’s really hard to tell if I’m with the beat or not until I put the 2nd part on top of the 1st. With multitrack recording, I record the 1st part and play it (hear it) in my ear-buds while recording the 2nd part. My recording device has a metronome that I can hear in the ear buds while recording (the tac-tac-tac does not get recorded), but it still takes the 2 parts together to tell what part is going wrong and how. In fact, it took many, many, many sessions of listening to both parts through the speakers to really settle things down.

No friend, no cues…

I don’t know, but it is possible that recording myself playing with myself made things harder. I remember from my days of chamber music that my fellow players and I would look at each other a lot. We would feel each other’s breathing while giving and taking cues either explicitly or through body language. This allowed us to deviate from the beat quite a lot, but still manage to play in proper synchronization together. I don’t know if playing the Nino Rota duets with another living  person of similar calibre would really make it easier or not… I hope I get to try sometime soon.

Czeslaw Kaczynski and Nino Rota : undervalued treasures!

As is likely the case for most Canadians and Americans – maybe even Europeans – my knowledge of Nino Rota was mostly limited to the movie music of the Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and so on. It was my piano teacher from the Conservatoire de Montréal, Czeslaw Kaczynski, who set me straight. Just before he left for a retirement in Rome, he blessed me with a private performance in his own home of Rota music for piano. That’s where I discovered that Nino Rota makes true “pure” music that needs no movies at all to touch the depths of artistry: there is now a You-Tube channel dedicated to the non-movie music of Rota.

Maestro Kaczynski is a Polish pianist who became director of the Conservatoire de Trois-Rivières and then took a semi-retirement, teaching piano 2nd instrument at Conservatoire de Montréal: I had the tremendous privilege to be his student. Strangely, he was not very well appreciated as a musician or as a teacher… this, I really cannot understand because I heard him play recitals of Chopin and Szymanowski with such soulful musicality and passion that NO OTHER RECORDING from any of the world masters has ever approached… many attendants of those recitals, regular patrons of the arts, agreed on that! One of these was among the first recitals played on the famous Bosendorfer piano of the Chapelle historique du bon Pasteur (Montréal).

I was blessed with many excellent music teachers, but Maestro Kaczynski was certainly the one who most strongly awakened the aesthetic artistry when playing music. I can go on for many blog posts telling of his genius as a teacher as well as a musician. I only hope his retirement in Rome paid proper tribute.


NewMe said...

I too studied piano with M. Kaczynski at the Conservatoire back in the 80s. I was a voice student there and piano was my second instrument. Unfortunately, I just wasn't good enough to make opera my career, but I don't regret those years at the Conservatoire.

I remember my first year or two with Monsieur K. were hell. I was not a bad pianist, but I had to put in hours and hours of work to play the pieces he gave me. He accused me of being lazy. I was just slow. But as the years went by, I did get better and still fondly remember the Beethoven variations on Nel cuor non piu mi sento and some wonderful (though relatively easy) Bach. I also spent many hours on the Gradus ad parnassum.

I'm happy to hear Monsieur K. retired to Rome. I'd love to do the same one day.

Thanks for the little walk down memory lane.

RobinDesHautbois said...

Hello NewMe! Maybe we know each other? I was there from 1986-1990 before going to McGill.

I heard he was rougher with singers than "piano complémentaire" students and I know he was rougher with instrumentalists who didn't take complémentaire seriously. Come to think of it, he was critical and very demanding of me too, but I never took it to be anything more than wanting me to do all I was able to.... strange, because this was not the case with other teachers.

For signers, he did mention to me that he wanted them to gain a deeper understanding of music through playing an instrument..... the piano offers such an understanding that few other instruments can (even organ or harpsichord).

I was amazed at his teaching versatility. My room-mate was a contrabass player who did almost only scales and technique with Mtro Kaczynski whereas I NEVER did technique: I did 100% repertoire only, normally Polish, Russian, and baroque. My room-mate was happy with technique: a phenomenal sound on the contrabass, he was not as inspired for repertoire whereas it was the exact opposite for me Mtro kaczynski picked up on that.

NewMe said...

Hi Robin,

I think I left just as you were coming in. We just missed each other!

I would have still been there in 1986 but I flunked my 3e cycle by two marks. They were right. My technique was crap and my teacher (who shall remain nameless and who was a wonderful human being but definitely not the right teacher for me) just couldn't see it. I actually thought about moving to the other teacher who told me to stop singing for a year and then come back. I believe this could potentially have been the right advice, but I didn't take it and just left the Conservatoire.

I then studied with two other teachers privately, but finally gave up on making a career for myself.

C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas ?

herschel friedman said...

I grew up in Montreal. Would you believe that Mr. K lived above me in our duplex. He played piano daily and sometime for hours. My dad and I would sit down in our living room below him and would listen to him play. He was a nice man and would compliment me on my clothing when ever we bumped into eachother. I was young and he would invite me upstairs to watch tv while he played on his baby grand. Good memories!

Herschel Friedman

herschel friedman said...

I grew up in Montreal in the Cote Neige area. I lived in a duplex on Van Horne. Every evening for many many years the person living upstairs would play on his Steinway baby grand. He played beautifully. Some nights my family would sit down in the living room leaning back comfortably with our eyes closed and would just sit there and listen to the beautiful music. The man was a nice man. He drove the French car Citroen for several years. As I got older he would invite me upstairs to watch tv while he played. He used no notes or music books. We even had a few shots of Amaretto. He always complimented me on the way I dressed. I have known him for most of my childhood and teen years but I never knew what he did for a living. Until one day I received an invitation in the mail inviting me and my family to a concert in the old city hall. It was a piano concert. The city of Montreal purchased a Fazzioli piano from Itsly. They paid 70,000 for it and it was never used before this concert. The pianist, Chezlae Kaczynski was giving his final concert before retiring and moving to Italy. He played for me one last time. Thank you Mr. K for the everlasting memories.
May you rest in peace.

Herschel Friedman

RobinDesHautbois said...

Hello Herschel,
(I tried to e-mail your Google+ account, but I never had much luck with that service. Perhaps you could get in touch via mine? - Click on my name just next to "About me".)

For sure this is the person living upstairs from you. It was a tremendous honour when Mtro. Caczynski once invited me to his place on Côte-des-Neiges to read (at the piano) a composition I had written for him. I was there at that recital you describe: stunning!