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Rafael Joseffy

A youthful picture of Rafael Joseffy


I found a fascinating Article about this very gifted pianist recently. He is best known for his editing of the music of Chopin, (The Schirmer Library of Music Classics), but the article delves deeply into his philosophy of the importance of repertoire for students and also the system behind the art of editing music

"Rafael Joseffy's Contribution to Piano Technic" by Edwin Hughes

The Music Quarterly, 1916

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I found the article interesting concerning two areas that he discussed dealing with the art of piano technique;

1. His suggestion that certain works really do not develop technique in the way that other works do was quite refreshing to hear. His comparison of the Grieg Piano Concerto and Chopin's Concerto was quite interesting as I "stood back" to really grasp the works in a pedagogical framework. Many teachers tend to choose piano repertoire based on the success of the performance, how special it is to see a brilliant pianist and pedagogue that understands the importance of gaining technical skills as such a high priority when assigning new literature.

2. The other fascinating idea that he discussed was the concept of fingerings (not) being focused on comfortable playing. I felt that so many music editors would not understand this statement, but true teachers would. Fingerings are the result of a system of "natural positioning" of the hand and fingers and especially the development of tone production. Such a "stroke of genius" that the "Schirmer Music Publishing Company" choose this talented pianist and pedagogue to revise and edit the music of Chopin. Chopin's approach to the development of a "beautiful tone" at the piano was the number one priority that he stressed to all of his class of students during his years of teaching in Paris.

Timothy Brown, Shigeru Kawai Artist

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