Tuesday, October 30, 2007


And there's this to mull over...

"Lebrecht faces a fall from grace after losing a defamation battle with the head of Naxos, the largest independent classical record label, Klaus Heymann. This week Penguin agreed to pulp all copies of Lebrecht's book, which criticised Mr Heymann."
Deets here.

"On An Overgrown Path" got there first. Check it out.

African Heritage in Classical Music

I want to point the way to Bill Zick's excellent blog "AfriClassical" and its companion site "AfriClassical - African Heritage in Classical Music". It's today's web pick, so get clicking.

You'll find it all here.

Piano Lessons

"When I was in my early 20s, I got a phone call from one of my old piano teachers," says Cho. "It was very surprising to me, because the lessons were such a long time ago. She was just calling to see how I was doing, but at the time, it seemed odd. I didn't know what to say, and I remember there was a slight feeling of discomfort through the conversation. As time has gone on, I have the memory of that phone call, and it's so clear to me why she called. It seems so human to reach out and want to speak to your former students to see what kind of effect you had on them. And I felt sad, because my realization and understanding was coming so many years too late."
From an interview with playwright Julia Cho on the topic of her phenomenal play "The Piano Teacher". Read the rest here.

I sometimes think that the really hard work of learning to "play piano", of becoming a musician, comes only years later, long after "Teaching Little Fingers" and "The Happy Farmer" have faded to dull memories like a badly remembered childhood dream, and resembles more often than not the work of psychoanalysis, the process of undergoing certain risks and transformations in self-understanding as an artist.

People talk about "finding one's own voice" or "one's own style", but I'm tempted to believe that act of "finding" is, at the end of the day, more a letting-go in which the object of pedagogic experience is not knowledge itself, but the experience in and of itself. Only then does it come full circle.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Recital Note

This gave me a good chuckle

...Bach left us with no instructions on how they should be played – loud, soft, fast or slow. So finding the "right" interpretation has been a Holy Grail of classical music. People follow their favourite pianist (or harpsichordist) as they would a knight in armour.
Read the rest here.

It brought to mind a recital I gave as an undergraduate (ages ago) that featured a pretty galloping performance of a Bach prelude. Afterwards an obviously less than pleased professor (who shall remain anonymous) asked me why I had played it thus. I recall cheerfully saying something to the effect "That's the way Gould plays it". The icy reply: "Yes, but he is Glenn Gould."

Hibiki Tamura

Congrat's to pianist Hibiki Tamura on winning the Long-Thibaud International Competition.



If you're a fan of new music then point your browser to "radiOM.org".

There is tons of great listening to found on this site, a sister site of "other minds", besides new music. Lectures, poetry, documentary pieces abound on the site.

The Collin McPhee material made me very happy. Very happy indeed.

Find it all right here.

Roll It, Fold It, It's Grand

First we had the "roll-up piano (seen here)
and now comes the folding piano. Unlike the plastic roll-up, this one purports to give you the feel of having grand piano under you fingers.

Infinite Response recently unveiled the new VAX 77 keyboard. It weighs just 25 pounds and folds in half, zipping into a shoulder bag, which means you can realistically carry it from one music gig to the next without accidentally sending it through any windows.
Deets here.

The fact that is is Midi in/out makes it quite appealing to me. I can see lugging it around with a laptop. Very easily imagine it. It won't replace any "real" piano anytime soon, but that's not the point.

Product specs and photos galore here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Break from Blogging

I wanted to post a note of thanks to those who left comments or sent email during my break from blogging.

A family member's fight with illness has been the main focus of my time and energy. As things have turned a corner (for the better!) and the usual pattern of things asserts itself, I hope to start posting again more frequently.