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Pianos and Pianists

A Teacher's Notebook

"There are some charming young girls who work under distinguished teachers in some of the London music schools. They occasionally come to me for advice and one of them is adorably gifted. I am not going to mention her name. Fumbling among old papers I found a little notebook in which I put the name of nearly all my pupils, with a few words of reference ...

'Ethel Peeress - worked hard to become a brilliant pianist and is now a successful harpist.'

'Yvonne de Freudenreich - very pretty; begins to play as well as she looks.'

'May Bond - a delightful pupil.'

'Joan Bowes-Lyon - special gift for Chopin's miniatures; has such an appealing look in her eye when she does something wrongly.'

'Tania Zagouloff - positively infernal temper; a wild Cossack.'

'Karl Goldschmid - one of the best improvisers I know.'

'Prudence Moil - plays the piano in an indecently respectable way; no fire; no passion; it might be a sewing machine.'

'Meg Reynolds - could play very well if she did not think too much of other things.'

'Enriqueta da Cuevas - combines in her playing diplomatic reserve and South American fervour - a delightful mixture.'

'Peggy Burwood - dances on the piano as she dances through life - sparkling eyes and sparkling finger work are her greatest assets.'

'George Bevan - improved amazingly as soon as he gave up taking lessons from me and worked on his own. Is this to my credit?'

'Polly Brouard - quarrelsome and argumentative. I shall not teach her very long.'

'Nan Boyd - uncanny imagination.'

'Mary Gordon West - very gifted, far seeing.'

'Chick Barnes - could play marvellously if she chose to work. Lovely touch, creative power, looks; everything in her favour. Alas, the fairies at her birth had omitted to give her the gift of constancy.'"

- Vladimir Cernikoff 1936, Humour and Harmony

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