DAME MOURA LYMPANY
A personal tribute by BILL NEWMAN
<< Continued from last week
Sent to a Belgian convent as a child her exceptional musical gift was
quickly recognized, and from school in London she won scholarships to the
Royal Academy of Music. At the age of 12, actually 10 days before her 13th
Birthday, she made her first concerto appearance at Harrogate with conductor
Basil Cameron -Mendelssohn G minor -- followed by a further concert at Hastings.
He thought Moura was a good concert name, but her parent's name Johnstone
was not. Moura's mother was consulted. What was her maiden name?
'Limpenny, but what about the old spelling -- it is LYMPANY?'. 'Perfect!',
Important stays and studies in Vienna and Budapest came next, then her
return to England. After two terms at the RAM, her mother arranged private
lessons with Mathilde Verne. Madame Verne liked to watch Moura's
hands, which she found 'Enchanting....they literally seem to dance on the
keys.' Very keen on a beautiful tone, she and her two sisters had been pupils
of Clara Schumann and beautiful sound was part of the Schumann tradition.
'Verne always instructed me to play the opening of Robert Schumann's
Concerto as written, pacing the chordal entries evenly with the correct
pauses between.' Her advice to young pianists was: 'When practising, one
should always start by playing the piece slower than written, so that each
note sounds quite clear in relation to the whole. Once all problems have
been mastered -- tempi, accents, phrasing, expression -- all corresponding
to the correct musical dynamics, then it is possible to increase the pace
to give a greater sense of style to the interpretation.'
Copyright © 29 May 2001
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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