Monday, December 29, 2008

About that buzzing you hear...

What's Bart Listening to - the Pop Edition

For quite sometime I've been enjoying the music of "Bookmobile", a laptop duo that turns out some of the very best ambient electronic music about. Glitchy sonic morphing that just feels right.

If  they are playing in your neck of the woods, then you can mark it down as a show not to be missed.

You can learn more about "Bookmobile" including a fine mp3 audio download via their website (which is in serious need of updating!). LINK.
And the wiki for the duo.

Brendel's Departure

Unless you've been completely out of the loop, you no doubt already know that the great Alfred Brendel gave his last public performance this month.
And the Guardian has a splendid review of it for those of us who couldn't be there.

Never having heard Brendel live, I know his playing only thru his recordings. Yes, I love his richly praised Beethoven and Schubert recordings. But it's his early recordings, especially of Liszt, that
I enjoy the most. You can find some of the very best of it here.

Deep Thought for the Day

"A pianist should never take the performance out of his pocket instead of out of his heart." - Artur Rubinstein

DIY: Glenn Gould's Chair

I just came across a remakable post detailing one blogger's effort to re-create Glenn Gould famed chair. Fully illustrated and well-written it's well worth a visit. link

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Things to Do with Your iPhone

This is certainly something I didn't see coming... Then again not surprising really.

 Read all about using the iPhone as an instrument via the might fine "My Music Tech" blog.


and there's this iphone guitar making some lovely ambient music

Stravinksy - at the piano and on the podium

SF Examiner is running a fascinating series by Scott Foglesong on the topic Stravinksy as conductor and pianist that's well worth your time.  Link

And here's a little bit of Stravinsky at the podium

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Faces to watch 2009: Classical music - Really?

The LAT has up an article on who to watch 2009. The list is comprised of just 3 individuals: Yannick Nézet-Séguin (conductor), Danielle de Niese (soprano); Nico Muhly (composer).

That's it? 2009 looks then to be sorely disappointing. If you ask me all three can pack their knives and go. Sezet-Sequin perhaps. de Niese, give it sometime. Muhly? That's so last milenium...

Who do you think's worth watching in 09? I'll post my own list down the road and we can compare notes.

Christmas Past

I had meant to post this before the 25th, but alas....

What is it? A link to a remarkable web treasure that explores the wonderful and whacky world of Christmas with Liberace. You 'll find plenty of audio clips from "Christmas card recordings", decorations, cards, and more.

Check it out.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Deep Thought for the Day

"You don't need C major to find eternity."


All that and more in this tasty piece. Check it out. Link

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Master Class Notes

Oh. Snap.

"A young Chinese pianist was showing his wares in the finale of Prokofiev’s Sixth Piano Sonata and Liszt’s First Piano Concerto. Krainev listens to long takes (an entire movement and more) before making his comments. And he does not mince words or pull punches, which are not lost in translation either. “You play too many wrong notes!” Ouch. “It is marked Vivace, but you play Allegretto, so it sounds very boring. Do you know what boring means?” Double ouch."

Ouch indeed. Read the rest over here on the inimitable Flying Inkpot.

Free to a Good Home: Adopt-a-Piano

Dang! Piano adoptions! Why didn't I think of this? It's brilliant.

The sites mission:

"Piano Adoption is a free site where you can find a home for your unused piano. Give the gift of music to a family in search of a starter piano or an institution such as a church, school or retirement home in need of a piano. For every piano that is unwanted or no longer used, there may be dozens of potential recipients in your area. Piano Adoption is dedicated to finding a new home for your serviceable pianos before they end up in the local landfill.  "

Point your peepers here and find a piano in your area.

You're not Just Playing It, You're Wearing It

Get you uber-geek on with the a wearable toy piano. You'll have to a little work as it's a DIY project.
The instruction (or should that be pattern) for it is found here. More info is found here.

via YouTube you can see it in action:

What's Bart Been Listening to Lately?

Jim Reeves - I Fall to Pieces
Schumann - Carnival
Yo La Tengo - Tears Are In Your Eyes
Granados - 6 Cantos
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Liszt - Piano Concerto no. 1

Hamster + Piano

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Piano - Sculpture

What's Bart Been Listening To ?

Colin Mcphee - Suite in Six Movements
Messiaen - Visions de l'Amen
de Falla -  Danse De La Frayeu
Schubert - Sonata Op. Posth. D960
Brahms -Sonata in f op 5

Monday, December 08, 2008

Smell Ya Later

A music competition that revolves around smell.

You'll find the website for it here.

The daughter of Clive Christian came up with the idea for a music competition inspired by the perfume. The Sound of Perfume, she calls it. Naff? Perhaps, but the composition students at the Royal College of Music invited to enter are taking the assignment seriously.
Give it a peep and judge for yourself. Asked and unanswered in all of this is the connection between smell and sound.

Paging Scriabin.

economics and steinway

If you were wondering how the "global recession" affects piano sales, then you might be intereted in this blurb on Steinway and Sons.

A credit ratings agency on Monday lowered its outlook for piano maker Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. because of concerns that consumers won't spend on big-ticket items in a deteriorating economy.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


some I missed this one.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

out and around blogsville

More about that "mystery piano" found abandoned in the woods can be found here

And is Claudio Abbado the greatest living conductor? Not sure I'm buying that. Deets here.

History's most misunderstood novel? Answers can be found here. And I'm buying it.

A knuckle bustin' etude from the blogospher's own can be found here. (Nice stuff!)

Need to alienate your audience? Look (er, click) no further than here.

In the mood for Christmas? Put your peepers here.

And, yes, Virginia Camile Paglia really does suck. Deets

And a might mighty fine blog that I've added to the WTB "Blogs of Distinction" list
can be found here. (Cheeky Monkey!).

Music to Warm You on a Winter Evening

In a word: Glorious!

Speaking of Eye Candy

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the dollar value some folks attach to a spinet.

In my off-line life and travels, a question I'm frequentlyasked  is what "type" of piano I'd recommend someone buy. My advice is always to avoid the spinet. Better than the spinet, even better than a "baby" grand in my opinion, is the tried and proved "upright". I very much like the Pleyel uprights (but that's a topic for another day). It's doesn't even need to be a brand spanking new one. With a little care, love, and money even an upright destined for the landfill can be transformed into a wonderful instrument.

Not far behind them is can be found a digital solution. What I mean here is not the typical stand alone "digital piano", but rather a combination of a decent keyboard controller and top notch piano samples.

Some of the best piano samples are those by PMI and SampleTekk (which now distributes the PMI samples). Likely as not, you have already heard them in many film and CD productions. These are wonderfully recorded -note for note, velocity layer upon velocity layer- "replicas" of an actual piano.
In my opinion these are vastly superior to the canned piano sounds of most "digital pianos". So for those unable to buy a "real" piano, I am more than happy to recommend a sample solution. Samples open up other possibilities as well. There are excellent samples of fortepianos, harpsichords, and organs to tickle your fancy.

There is a fine recording of the Bach WTC using samples recorded by John Grant that's well worth checking out. You'll find it here.

Another interesting development are "vst" instruments for computer based keyboard musicans. No less than Steinway has given their nod of approval to the concept. See for example the Garritan "Steinway". You find more about it here.

Eye Candy for Piano Lovers

Point your peepers here.

What's Bart listening to right now?

Sofronitzki play the great Schubert B flat Sonata.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

You Tube Goes Classical! Meet the "YouTube Symphony Orchestra"

This is a welcome and exciting bit of news!

The video-sharing website YouTube will take classical music out of pricey concert halls and bring it to the masses by holding an online competition where the public chooses musicians to play at Carnegie Hall.
The competition invites classical musicians around the world to submit two videos demonstrating their musical and technical abilities, YouTube said in a news release on Monday.
 Read more about it here.

Actually, this seems to be following a path already blazed, in a fashion, by the Van Cliburn Competition for amateurs setup a YouTube channel for competitors and allowed the audience (listeners) to vote.

Here's the link to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra page.

 And, of course,  there is a video to introduce it.

Check it out.