Sunday, October 23, 2005
And, if you're heading to New York City, make sure you check out "Classical Domain". It's really a fantastic website, one that truly lives up to it's billing as "A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Music and Opera Concerts in New York City." Whoever is behind it deserves big kudos!
And check out Classical Domain's links to "Blogs" you'll find some familiar friends (blush) and links to new bloggers to visit (such as "A Solo Keyboard" and "Nectar and Ambrosia").
From the website: "It has a deceptively simple mechanism--plastic hammers hitting steel rods. Yet, the toy piano produces a rich and quirky sound palette. John Cage brought the instrument from a treasured plaything to a bona fide musical instrument with his Suite for Toy Piano (1948). Our aim is to bring the instrument into the 21st Century. To that end, we're offering the electroacoustic composition community a complete set of high quality recordings of a classic Schoenhut upright toy piano.To encourage the creation of electroacoustic compositions that use both live and pre-recorded toy piano, we're sponsoring a composition competition. The project will culminate in a festival in November 2005 with concerts that will feature the winning compositions, and a symposium."
Read all about it here.
Even more fun, visit their audio archive here.
I'm there already.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
The website is focused on composers and piano music from Latin America (Mexico, Boliva, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and rest). It is well researched with biographical notes, discography, and links to publishers. There you find composers such as Teresa Carreno, Pedro Allende, Juventino Rosas, and Luis Calvo.
You'll find it right here.
And to round out your travels have visit with "Educación musical". It's today's blog pick and going straight to the WTB's "Blogs of Distinction" roster. It's from Spain and provides interesting links and information. Also visit it's sister site "Weblog de Musica", how can you not love a blog with posts on Kristeva, Rothko, and Scelsi.
It's really quite simple. TexasBestGrok has the details. Give it a try folks. You won't regret it.
Listen to some of his sonic poems here.
May I also recommend spending some time here listening to some sonic sculptures. "Introduction" is particularly ear tickling. Perfect for "Shocktober".
But what's been tickling my ears this morning is this
What little I heard of no.1's playing was singularly pleasant, if ultimately, forgetable playing of a 20 year old pianist. I'll keep my ears open though for further persuasion. So I look forward to this CD. More news from the Chopin can be found on their website. On a related note, I did get a chance to hear Wunder's playing. Wow!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
"The bosses at Sony were suitably impressed with [Martin]Stadtfeld's recording. It wasn't long before the CD took the number one spot on Germany's classical music charts, and Stadtfeld was being toasted as a "sensation" and "the new face of classical music."
Sony wanted Stadtfeld to do for classical music what Josh Groban did for opera and Michael Bublé did for jazz -- attract a whole new target group to the genre. And indeed, a noticeable number of young fans can be seen in the concert halls where Stadtfeld appears."
Read the rest of this map of misreading here.
"While classical musical organizations increasingly struggle to draw people into the concert hall, and Broadway has more or less resigned itself to being a purveyor of "products" that happen to be musicals, Felder has developed a hybrid form. He is one of those rare performers who can hold an audience in rapt silence while playing the most intimate Chopin nocturne or prelude, and then bring that same audience together to sing "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," the 1940s standard whose melody is based on Chopin's "Fantasie Impromptu in C# Minor."
All about Monsieur Chopin
Here's the finalists for the International Chopin Competition here.
Interesting bit in English from Radio Poland:
"..the absence of Ingold Wunder from Austria in the finals is comparable to the jury decision to eliminate Ivo Pogorelich in 1980. But then every competition has its 'famous losers'.
There's no doubt that all lovers of Chopin's music will keep their fingers
crossed for Rałaf Blechacz. For the first time in many years, a Polish
pianist stands a great chance of winning one of the top accolades at the
No and No. We're a very long way from anyone near a Pogorelich having been passed over. And, yea, if Polish pianist Blechacz wins I'll only be mildly surprised. Surprised that a Japanese pianist didn't win. Not that I'm casting any votes. Fast than you can say Dang Thai Son the winner will likely fade and be forgotten this round. Hopefully, I'm wrong on that score. On the flip side, I'm keep my ears open of Mr. Wunder.
Friday, October 14, 2005
"Here's an appealing thought: an mp3 breast implant which will allow surgically-enhanced girls to store and play back their entire music collections from their 36DD assets...."flexible plastic electronics would sit inside the breast. A signal would be relayed to headphones, while the device would be controlled by Bluetooth using a panel on the wrist" Read the rest here.
No word on when the iWang will be available.
Sunday, October 16, 2005 – 3 p.m. EST
Virtual ticketholders will participate in the worldwide internet broadcast of a 60 minute Webimentary™ including a multi-media experience. live performance and interactive question and answer with the live and on-line audience. Virtuoso pianist Richard Bosworth will instruct on three major works and perform the Chopin in its entirety.
Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in
E flat major, Op. 22 Frederic Chopin
Ballade in the form of variations on a Norwegian folk melody,
Op. 24 Edvard Grieg
Gaspard de la nuit Maurice Ravel
ii. Le gibet
More info here.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
This is simply stunning news:
"Heather Carbo, a no-nonsense librarian at an evangelical seminary outside Philadelphia, was cleaning out an archival cabinet one hot afternoon in July. It was a dirty and routine job. But there, on the bottom shelf, she stumbled across what may be one of the most important musicological finds in years. It was a working manuscript score for a piano version of Beethoven's "Grosse Fuge," a monument of classical music." Read the rest here.
The jury has completed it's second round of cuts and those still standing are:
Ann Soo-Jung - Korea
Piotr Banasik - Poland
Rafał Blechacz - Poland
Nicolas Bringuier - France
Chiao-Ying Chang -
Alexej Gorlatch - Ukraina
Hisako Kawamura - Japan
Yusuke Kikuchi - Japan
Ben Kim - USA
Szczepan Kończal - Poland
Jacek Kortus - Poland
Olga Kozlova - Russia
Rachel Kudo - USA
Ka Ling Colleen Lee - Hong Kong
Dmitri Levkovich - Canada
Dong Hyek Lim - Korea
Dong Min Lim - Korea
Marko Mustonen - Finland
Rieko Nezu - Japan
Miku Omine - Japan
Yuma Osaki - Japan
EstherPark - USA
Takashi Sato - Japan
Shohei Sekimoto - Japan
Yeol Eum Son - Korea
Gracjan Szymczak- Poland
Krzysztof Trzaskowski - Poland
Nobuyuki Tsuji - Japan
Sławomir Wilk - Poland
Ingolf Wunder - Austria
Takashi Yamamoto - Japan
Andrey Yaroshinskiy - Russia
I'm surprised at who didn't make the cut. Very surprised. For those with eyes to read, you can find more information in a small press bit from Radio Poland. The article is here. Scrolling down one finds the key graf:
"The biggest national contingents in the second round are from Japan - with nine pianists and Poland - with seven. Jury member Hiroko Nakamura from Japan, herself a prizewinner in the Warsaw competition forty years ago, is delighted with the success of her compatriots. She says that Polish pianists and music teachers have contributed to the great interest in Chopin's music in Japan."
Indeed! Things do look rather bright for Japan at this year's competition.
(I'd written a much longer post, but I realize now that it was just a bitter palliative).
Update: And then there's this from pianist/blogger and competition participant Lyudmila Chudinova:
"Warsaw Chopin Competition was an "impossible" competition in opinion of many participating there pianists. The Italian participant was beaten by Polish nationalists as a "nazi".Therefore, his back and shoulders were damaged and he played with mistakes.In fact, many pianists made mistakes due to the stage anxiety, not to the lack of preparation. Even such distinguished pianists as Elizabeth Schumann, Sean Kennard, and Nadia Shpachenko were eliminated. Many laureates of prestigious competition were eliminated before the first round.However, some not so distinguished pianists proceeded further, as a housewife from Finlandia that is competing "for fun". Link.
Worst. Competition. News. Ever.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
If you got a paper cup, then you too can make a recording ala the retro cool "Edison Cylinder Plastic Cup Recording Device".
It's for real: "Use the same technology that Thomas Edison used, to record your own voice on a plastic cup -- and play it back! Replacing Edison's waxed pipe and stylus, the kit uses a plastic cup and a needle, but the end results are the same. "
And there's my personal fav, the Gakken Emile Berliner Gramophone Turntable:
"Simply place an old CD (AOL anyone?) on the gramophone, speak into the paper cup, and etch your record, which can then be played back on this (or another) Berliner Gramophone."
You can see the Edison in action here in this Quicktime .mov clip. That and more can be found on the awesome Kempa.com blog. It's today's blog pick.
Buy the gadgets here.
I heard a bit this morning on NPR. (It's almost an invariable given that any "rock" or "indie" music review on NPR, ever on the demographic hunt, is delivered, imo, with the same awkward faux cool of your average undergraduate film course). Anyhow, before saying a word of commentary, just listening, it's the first thing that hits: A Nina Simone wannabe of sorts. Cut from the same recycle materials as Devendra Banhart (who I like alot more).
The "underground" background of the group seems strangely underscored in most articles/review. Perhaps just a tad too. Perhaps meant to provide some sort of waiver, a hall pass, for what it is touted as NTB (Next Big Thing). I wouldn't think of them as underground. Not at all. For all the hype, I find Anthony and the Johnsons to be a pleasant enough "act" of pastiche and cliche. But at the end of the day, the hook of novelty is not enough. I'd much rather listen to Nina Simone. It's much better.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
"The official inauguration of the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory will take place on October 14th 2005. The long-awaited ceremony will highlight the laboratory's current and future research objectives while celebrating the significant milestones in its brief history."
Very interesting study and research programs. Check it out.
"Not surprisingly, the 25-year-old Russian has strong opinions about the contests that pit pianist against pianist as though music were just another form of athletic endeavor. "First of all," he said at the outset of an interview by phone last weekend from Fort Worth, "I must say that I hate competitions......"We have to do them," Kobrin said. "The situation now is that you have to win the competition, then you can get some career. You can find just a few big pianists who have a career without doing any competitions -- like (fellow Russian Evgeny) Kissin, for example. His case was exceptional because he came out of the political situation at that time."
I sometimes think competitions are doing more harm than good, but it's symptomatic of a much larger problem or condition.
Monday, October 10, 2005
"Jack Reilly's La-No-Tib Suite is a compact three movement bitonal work. The Suite packs quite a punch for such a compact work (a bit like Webern). A triplet figure followed by a dotted eighth dominate the work, the pianist is called on to improvise in two of the three parts, yet there is an underlying melodic and reflective quality that acts as an appealing counterpoint to the advanced musical language."
Key line: "The 90-minute documentary directed by French filmmaker Andy Sommer is little more than sentimental puffery, a species of Texas-style boosterism rather than a penetrating look at the arts."
Head on over to HurdAudio to enjoy some tasty links.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
To brigten up the morning with a little cheer, I couldn't resist sharing this bit. It's no doubt familiar to some and squarely falls in the category of ROTFLMAO. I love the instruction for the cattle on stage.
This would make a very cool poster!
Saturday, October 08, 2005
"Composed in four uninterrupted movements -- this is a concerto in name only -- the work skitters out of the gate with the first notes of the introduction and keeps accelerating unimpeded into the busy second movement. The effect is complex, vibrant and oddly jaunty; Hindemith, who played every instrument in the orchestra, gives each section something brilliant to do.
After the headlong rush of the opening movements, the seductive slow movement comes as something of a surprise. Over a backdrop of cellos and basses, the piano is joined by the English horn in a series of long, languid lines taken up by solo flute. The finale returns to the biting rhythms and quicksilver melodies of the introduction.
Fleisher was an ideal soloist for the work. Playing with a keen blend of force and precision, the pianist met the score's technical demands with complete assurance. It was impossible to escape the irony of his performance; Fleisher's career was sidelined by a right hand injury 40 years ago, and he's just begun to play two-handed works very recently." Read the rest here.
More here. Photos here.
More about the background of the composer and this work is here.
Interview with Gordon about the work.
ASCAP has a very nice audio portrait of Gordon. You can hear the composer's voice and music.
Friday, October 07, 2005
There's also a puppet playing trumpet. These are streaming video clips that can be viewed online. You'll find them here.
On a related note visit the New England Marionette Opera.
"A pianist and a magician teaming up: the idea might appear formal, a way of staging a recital, enticing the public by promising it that, for lack of something to hear, it will have something to watch. Thankfully, Denis Levaillant's latest show dispels that fear. Piano Circus is a fable of the pianist, the pianist grappling with his repertoire. Grappling with his anxieties (damaging his fingers), with his fears (playing worse than with his feet)." The rest here. including audio excerpts and photos. Both "Piano Circus" and "Techno Space Piano: for piano, turntable, and electroni music" are especially worth giving a listen.
A nice collection of his works and him playing some Liszt (including Liszt's "Bagatelle san tonalite") is found here.
It's a presentation by Charles Rosen of various keyboard instruments in the history of the development of the piano. You'll find it here. I think it will be going into the "perma" links of the WTB.
It requires RealPlayer. Link.
This is almost too funny.
"If recent news reports are to be believed, there are people in this country who go about snatching pianos. They first ask their intended victim for direction (or sometimes for the time of day.) If the victim is unthinking enough to oblige, they repay him by shrinking his piano and spiriting it away.
"In just one week recently, at least six cases of snatched pianos were reported in different parts of Jos, the Plateau State capital. The cases involved both males and females whose pianos allegedly disappeared "upon contact with middle-aged piano-snatchers."
WTF? Read the rest here.
"The truth is that "yes!" Benjamin Britten was gay, yes perhaps he was tortured at times for it as I'm sure most other gay people are, yes he might have been a pacifist, yes yes yes. But the man wrote some of the greatest music of the 20th century, and deserves more attention to that than to his personal angels and demons, however much they can be seen lurking in his scores. Lay off of his personal life you alwaysassuming Cultural Studies department vultures and let his music speak for himself."
And, on the the other hand, there is this thought:
""A composer's music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion, the books which have influenced him, the pictures he loves."
"New York Philharmonic is helping to bring back Beethoven to New Orleans by hosting a benefit concert for the Louisiana Philharmonic. The Oct. 28 concert at Lincoln Center‘s Avery Fisher Hall will feature members of both orchestras, along with composer Randy Newman and singer Audra McDonald."
"The arts express the better angels within us," Sen. Coleman said in his introduction. Retired Gen. Edward Rowny recalled President Kennedy saying to him: "It is no accident that men of genius and music like Paderewski and Chopin should also have been great patriots. You have to be a free man to be a great artist."
Read the rest here.
"if a woman of 70 goes back to college to get her degree and makes the cheerleading squad as well, the world applauds her ambition and vitality. If a grandmother of five takes up skydiving, everyone envies her youthful verve. However, if you decide to study piano at an age when your contemporaries are honing their rocking chair techniques, people think you're really off yours--your rocker, that is."
Read the rest here.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
It's the premiere (U.S.) of a long lost work by Hindemith for piano and orchestra.
"The piece was commissioned from Hindemith by a wealthy, historically significant and rather infamous one-armed Austrian pianist named Paul Wittgenstein, who hated it but owned the performance rights and stowed it away. It collected dust for decades until a copy resurfaced around 2002 in a locked room of a Pennsylvania farmhouse where Wittgenstein's widow, Hilde, had lived for decades.
The piece has been performed only one other time, last December in Berlin, where Fleisher was soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic. The pianist describes the piece as having a "jauntiness" and "enormous drive." It is from "a marvelous period of Hindemith's creativity" and has a slow second movement that, by Fleisher's estimation, is among the best things the composer ever wrote." Read the rest here.
I blogged about this back when the work was first (re)discovered and I'm really looking forward to hearing it. Someday. Sigh.
"Perhaps there is no clearer symbol of just how far the iPod has transcended into popular culture than the emergence of the I-Dog, an iPod-themed robotic dog that likes listening to music just as much as you do. Feed the I-Dog some music (which can be done in one of two ways), and he'll display a corresponding light pattern on his forehead while he bobs his head and wags his ears" More here.
For now I'll keep my decidedly low tech, or organic, dog. His singing is just fine with me. Though I might need the WOW car.
"If one geek's trash is another geek's treasure, start sending all those CD jewel cases you've been tossing to New York City, care of digital media artist Tristan Perich. Perich is the man behind One Bit Music, a project that uses simple electronics to turn clear, plastic CD cases into personal, lo-fi music players." Check it out here. And do visit Perich's site. He has some placed some scores and mp3 files of his music on his homepage. You will find it here.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
It's moving to HurdAudio, so keep sending in the contributions. And volunteer slots are open for future installments. It's fun!
Monday, October 03, 2005
The FredoSphere points us to our first stop: DogBlog!
The DogBlog has up a fetching (I know, I know) post on the seemingly unlikely subject of Bruckner and the movies. Most interesting is his discovery of Bruckner in a Japanese sci-fi monster film. And, if DogBlog has you wanting to know more about Bruckner, you'll find an able guide at "Brucknerians" an English language website by Guillem Calaforra hosted at the Unversitat de Valencia, Spain.
And on the topic of music, japan, and film I'd would be remiss not to point you to this weird sci-fi gem: Wild Zero featuring "Guitar Wolf".
Some guitar themed blogging is found at Et Tu Bloge. A nice post on Dylan and Martin Scorsese's new documentary on Dylan. More on Dylan can be found here on the blog "utopianTurtleTop".
And that brings us straight round to some engaging "Thoughts on the Sonata "Process" (And Guitar)" on Hucbald's blog "A Monk's Musical Musings". You can download a copy of Hucbald's score and a midi file of the sonata here.
From Sonata to Variations ! Solitude in Music has a must not miss post on an impossible task: Transcribing Bach's Goldberg Variations for the guitar. The post ends with this quote by Glenn Gould:
"It is, in short, music which observes neither end nor beginning, music with neither real climax nor real resolution, music which, like Beaudelaires's lovers, "rests lightly on the wings of the unchecked wind."
Matters of counterpoint of another sort are found in a very interesting post (in Spanish) on Mozart, Karl Böhm, the Requiem over on that inimitable blog "La Idea del Norte", a blog that takes its name from Glenn Gould's "The Idea of North.".
But for now it's worth heading West to check in with Brian Sacawa 's blog "Sounds Like Now" for a report on new sounds and surprises found on a trip to San Francisco.
And Waterfall at A Sort of Notebook gets some strange blog traffic thanks to a certain opera singer. You'll find the details on her blog here.
Something however, you might want is a house full of pianos! Don't miss this great post over at FullerMusic which points us to a Boston Globe article on a house filled with pianos of various sorts.
Of pianos and pianists, the BookishGardener's blog has nice post on a recital by pianist Angela Hewitt and mulls the matter of even temperment. Check it out.
MusicCircus has a great post up on classical music and jazz. There's some very nice links in that post to keep you busy.
Andrea from the blog "Music to Live By" discovers a new blog, one focused on the business of music called, simply enough, "MusicBusiness Blog"
Klangfarbenmelodie ahoy! Another must visit blog is Retroklang (a Spanish language blog). Retroklang continues an exploration of Anton Webern's music with laser attention focused on Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra Op. 6. It's nicely illustrated with .mp3 clips.
Another nicely illustrated post can be found on Pliable's blog "On an Overgrown Path". Pliable takes up the question of whether classical music is in too much of a hurry. Audio clips from a wide variety of periods/composers make this an especially rewarding post. Find it here.
If that's not "far out" enough, head over to "Space Audio" to have a listen to sounds recorded in/from space.
For more sounds not found anyplace else visit the blog "Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else. "
And more music to hear can be found over at "Podcast Bumper Music". Prent Rodgers has put up mp3's of his latest works. Check 'em out.
There is a very amusing post on Counter/Point3.0! A 12 step program called "Diva Anonymous" for recovering Divas. It's a keeper. Find it here.: "We admitted that we were powerless over our egos, and that our voices had become unmanageable."
Next week the Carnival travels to "HurdAudio".
Send in your suggestions for the next weeks Carnival and consider hosting a future installment.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
"Schumann lets his music be fully heard only by someone who plays it, even badly. I have always been struck by this paradox: that a certain piece of Schumann's delighted me when I played it (approximately), and rather disappointed me when I heard it on records: then it seemed mysteriously impoverished, incomplete. This was not, I believe, an infatuation on my part. It is because Schumann's music goes much farther than the ear; it goes into the body, into the muscles by the beats of its rhythm, and somehow into the viscera by the voluptuous pleasure of its melos: as if on each occasion the piece was written only for one person, the one who plays it; the true Schumannian pianist -- c'est moi."[emphasis mine]
If one were to insert the name Bach in place of Schumann in this passage, it would nicely capture my own sense and experience of Bach's music.