Christina Kobb Talks to Michael Miller about Historical Keyboard Technique
The Norwegian pianist and scholar Christina Kobb came to wider attention in the United States when a New York Times writer picked up an article in a Scandinavian science magazine about neurological research carried out on her to analyze her movements as she played an electronic keyboard using modern and nineteenth century technique, which she has researched in her dissertation.
Her work has made a strong impression on musicians and audiences of historically informed performance practice, since most if not all of the relatively small number of pianists who have adopted historical instruments have simply adapted the technique they have been using for modern instruments and have neglected to study the manuals of pianoforte technique published in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Johann Nepomuck Hummel’s Ausführliche theoretisch-praktische Anweisung zum Piano-Forte-Spiel, published in 1827 is especially interesting, since, as a pupil of Mozart’s, he can be thought to have drawn his method from the master himself.
In this interview, Christina Kobb demonstrated what she learned from her researches in a most musical and fascinating way on my totally unsuitable electronic piano. Complete fortepiano performances of the pieces she excerpted can be heard here: