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There are many pearls of wisdom from Dr Wilma Jensen on which to ponder in this new release, not least in her practice techniques for specific technical issues and in her application of piano pedagogy for various styles of writing. Her musically aware and extremely able students on the DVDs are testament to her insightful teaching, and the sessions on the Duruflé ‘Alain’ work and Thalben-Ball’s Elegy are perhaps the most stimulating of the individual lessons from the viewer’s perspective.

The main weaknesses of the two DVDs, however, are their lack of clear structure, leading also to much duplication of the salient points. In particular, we hear most of the same basic technical points many times over – inevitably, given the format of lesson vignettes and brief introductions to camera from Jensen. In her engaging discussions about touch and technique, we are soon diverted by examples of rubato and shape in Franck and Widor. These are all sensibly considered, but a good producer and editor should have put them in their own self-contained chapters or ordered the flow of logic more carefully within individual sections. Aside from a summary of proportional tempi in BWV 552ii, pre-19th-century topics are confined largely to references to Faulkner’s and Soderlund’s books – material with which many players will already be familiar.

None of this of course is to detract from Jensen’s fine teaching, which is always in evidence. Some players might disagree with her views on bench position (her stance of weight fully on the bench could affect pivoting and full mobility of feet) and on pianistic arm weight in repertoire such as a Bruhns praeludium. Such matters are perhaps inevitably going to divide opinion.

Younger undergraduates and serious non-professional players would benefit in particular from this discerning and very experienced teacher’s insights. A worthy and entertaining release.

DANIEL MOULT Read the full review on Agora Classica

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