Sweat v. talent

Should piano playing be an Olympic event? Maybe not as outrageous as it seems, given the similarities between what it takes to succeed in both sports and music. I recommend a thoughtful post concerning talent, dedication and commitment by Frances Wilson on her excellent website (https://crosseyedpianist.com/2018/02/20/touching-greatness-and-the-myth-of-natural-talent/ )

I’m reminded of a comment by virtuoso pianist Louis Kentner, a Hungarian/British pianist who excelled in the works of Chopin and Liszt. While he may not be the most familiar name to the present generation, he was very well regarded around 50 years ago, having won 5th Prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and the Liszt Prize in Budapest.

Kentner wrote in his book (simply titled “Piano”) how, after most recitals, the familiar question that all budding pianists want to ask inevitably arose, “But how many hours a day do you practise, Mr Kentner?”

To which he replied, “There are pianists who claim they practise at least 20 or more hours without fail, every day – when in reality they practise for about eight. And then there are pianists who say they never practise anymore, haven’t needed to for years – when in reality they also practise for about eight.

Revealing words of truth indeed.

And for those that like to know such things, if you are a fan of the Warsaw Concerto (written for the 1940s film Dangerous Moonlight) the performer iin the film is none other than Mr Kentner himself.