Thursday, May 6, 2010

Good Genes

Josef Hofmann

Seth's great grandfather was a brilliant pianist and composer.  I am so excited that Caleb has such talented genes .  Before Caleb was born, Seth and I decided that we wanted him to take piano lessons.  Whether or not he ends of actually playing piano does not matter but piano lessons are a great base to all kinds of other music.  It teaches you how to read music, hand/eye coordination and a lot of other valuable things.  When I found out that Seth's great grandfather was Josef Hofmann, I was so excited.  I had never actually heard of him before though, so I did a little research.  He was born in Poland (or Russia, I am getting mixed info on this and I can't call my MIL to confirm right now) and was a child prodigy, playing his first recital in Warsaw when he was only 5 years old.  From there he toured Europe and Scandinavia and eventually made his way to America.  He composed and published over 100 works, a lot of them under the name "Michel Dvorsky".  Among his piano talent he was also an inventor.  This I am taking straight from Wikipedia, "Hofmann had over 70 patents, and his invention of pneumatic shock absorbers for cars and airplanes was commercially successful from 1905 to 1928. Other inventions included a windscreen wiper, a furnace that burned crude oil, a house that revolved with the sun, a device to record dynamics ([6]: U.S. patent number 1614984) in reproducing piano rolls that he perfected just as the roll companies went out of business, and piano action improvements adopted by the Steinway Company ([7]: U.S. patent number 2263088)."

I always wondered what my great grandparents looked like and their mannerisms.  I think one of the greatest things about Seth's great grandfather being so talented is that there are all kinds of videos of him playing the piano.  He even has his own facebook fan page that wasn't even started by was started by his fans.  His technique is still studied today by many piano students.  I thought it would be fun to share a video of him.  In this video he is playing his own composition.


JG said...

That is beautiful! I think piano lessons for kids are great. I took for a couple of years as a kid, and I kind of wish I had continued, but I didn't really have the self-discipline to make the most out of it. But you're right, it's a great foundation for learning basic music principles.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

That's so cool, Kathlyn! I love learning about my own ancestry. It must be nice to have some concrete facts about your son's heritage. :)