Obituary: Gyorgy Sebok

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The Independent Culture
I WAS an occasional student of Gyorgy Sebok's at his masterclasses in the 1980s, writes Susan Tomes [further to the obituary by Martin Anderson, 23 November]. When I first heard him talking to his students, it struck me that he was able to put into words things which I had no idea could be put into words. This has helped me to know what to aspire to when teaching - though his was a matchless example.

Reading of his death, I picked up a volume of Beethoven violin and piano sonatas and opened it at the slow movement of opus 96, where after the lesson I had scribbled down a series of consecutive comments he made, sotto voce, in my ear while listening to me playing the piano part: 1) "Technique must disappear." 2) "The instrument must disappear." 3) "Don't have a tempo." 4) (A moment later) "But don't be neutral!" 5) "Don't GIVE it a shape - it HAS a shape." 6) "Don't be a soloist" - (and, wickedly, a moment later) - "or accompanist."

The weightless, limitless sensation which these observations produced in me was a profound and unforgettable experience.