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Write to International Piano, St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PB, email or tweet @IP_mag. Star letters will receive a free CD from Hyperion’s best-selling Romantic Piano Concertos series


THE ART OF FINGERING In her provocative article ‘Stretched to the limit’ (Issue 80, page 12), Margaret Fingerhut writes: ‘... it begs the question as to what point there is in including any fingerings at all.’ To which the answer clearly is, ‘None whatsoever’. She then adds, ‘... we have to assume that editorial fingerings are geared towards the vast majority of piano players and students who might appreciate this sort of guidance’, by which I assume she means amateurs.

But do we ‘appreciate’ it? I certainly don’t. The first thing I do when I start learning a new piece is Tippex over the fingerings so I can work them out myself.

And so, in my opinion, should everyone – even beginners. As Fingerhut says, no fingerings will ever suit everyone and it is part of the art of playing the piano to find solutions that suit you and make it possible to play expressively without awkwardness or strain. So ‘down with editorial fingerings in general’, I say! Joseph Laredo, via email

MAKING MUSIC MATTER In the March 2022 issue of International Piano, Charivari writes of the marginalising of so-called ‘classical ‘ or ‘serious’ music’ (Ill-Tempered Clavier, Issue 80, page 14). He speaks of education as the solution but goes on to point out that music is now generally viewed as an ‘extra’ or ‘sideline’ requiring additional payment. When I related this situation to Sergei Dorensky, the long-time head of keyboard studies in Moscow, he listened in amazement and responded: ‘But surely great music is part of a country’s cultural heritage?’

Charivari suggests that Bach, Beethoven and Wagner should be as relevant to the classroom as Shakespeare, Dickens and the Brontë sisters. Indeed, those of us who cherish music – the truest mirror of human experience – will surely support Charivari’s call for education in a rich and inclusive sense, of quality set against philistinism. Bryce Morrison, via email

IN HARMONY I couldn’t agree more with the Cliburn International Piano Competition’s decision to invite pianists from Russia and Belarus to take part in this year’s finals in Fort Worth (‘The Russians are coming’, Issue 83, page 29). I understand that audiences at the live rounds have shown them a warm welcome almost equal to the applause received by the Ukrainian competitor. It will be interesting to see this year’s results on 18 June and I look forward to reading International Piano’s coverage of the competition in your next issue. Jane McMaster, via email

6 July/August 2022 International Piano

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