Tuesday, January 13, 2009

from the academy of very ancient science

I really get a good kick out of these oldies

Monday, January 12, 2009

What's Bart Been Listening to

not that you asked, but anyhoo

Sibelius - Symphony no6
Beethoven - Piano concerto no2
Adams - Grand Pianola
Bach - French Suite no4
Ravel - Piano Concerto in G
Babbit- Reflection for piano and synthesized tape
Liszt - Sonata in b (Gilels)
Kalkbrenner - Piano Concerto no1 in d minor
Pendrecdki - Cello Concerto

Beethoven afoot

I'll agree:

Concentrating on sublime Beethoven seems snooty, like insisting on premier cru claret. But the truth is that this music isn't just better than that of the earlier periods. It initiates us into a new musical order in which melodies sound like divine improvisation, though in fact they are undergirded by the tightest counterpoint since Bach.

As Edmund Morris points out, Beethoven's climaxes are created contrapuntally: the wildest of all, in which violins, viola and cello squawk and scream like frenzied vultures, occur in a fugue - the Grosse Fuge of the String Quartet Op.130.


The late sonatas are almost hypnotic in their power. My favorite recordings of the late sonatas (say op109 tp 111) are Schnabel, Ashkenazy,Kempf, and Gilels.

something to look forward to: Loesser and Bach

Now this is indeed something to look forward to:

Pianist Arthur Loesser (1894-1969) made few recordings for the world to
remember him by; happily, one of his most important has recently been brought back to life by Jacob Harnoy of the Canadian record company, DOREMI



A fine write-up of pianist Jon Nakamatsu (who I recently heard in the Rach 3 and was totally unconvinced by):

"My plan was kind of a romantic notion. I would do the best I could on my own until I reached my mid-30s, then if nothing significant happened, I would play one last recital and invite all the people who cared about me and supported me," Nakamatsu said recently. Then he would walk away from the keyboard. "I wouldn’t want to be in it until I was bitter or angry. The business of music can be ugly."


computer geeks take note

A new piano sample


Thought for the day

what will happen to fortepiano and harpsichord samples now that gigastudies is official dead?

Beethoven tidbit

Moises Arias of “Beethoven’s Big Break,” the sixth film in the "Beethoven" series, says he loved acting alongside the Saint Bernard who played the film’s title role.

Oye! This can be filed under ouch.


classica downloads

It's a spot of good news, but the truth is that there is loads of great classical music readily available and free for the download:

The first is that the behemoth of online music stores, iTunes Store, is dropping DRM for all audio files. As of January 5, approximately 80% of the catalog is being released in iTunes Plus format (no DRM, and higher bit rates). By spring, the entire catalog will be DRM-free.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Your midweek Freak Out

Good Stuff

Just about everything the extraordinarily talented Koji Attwood sets out to do delivers! Keep your peepers open for about 3min into the clip.

Two Discs, Two Pianists, One Sonata

Now this does look like a treat! New recordings of the Chopin 3rd piano sonata by Hamelin and Demidenko. Link

After reading the review, visit the rest of the "MusicalCriticism.com" website. It's got loads of treasures for your reading pleasure (but they do need to get that blog updated). Point, Click, Go.

A Fistful of Keys

Came across a nice article on the musical abilities of Clint Eastwood. I did know that he played jazz piano (and fairly well), but what I didn't know is that the had been composing music for some of his own films.
What is not generally known is that Eastwood -- amateur jazz pianist and occasional singer ("Paint Your Wagon") -- has been contributing piano pieces and occasional themes for his movies as far back as "Tightrope" (1984). Recently, he scored his own film "Changeling" and co-wrote the title song for his follow-up, "Gran Torino."

check it out.

All in all, a nice write-up that left me wanting to know more.

And then there's this tidbit to consider from actor Dustin Hofman:

a piano was put in front of me when I was about 5 years old, and my lower-middle-class Jewish parents were kind of cliché in the sense they said, “You’re gonna start piano lessons and you’re gonna wind up at Carnegie Hall” [laughs]. That was that generation. And I was one of many, many Jewish kids who did not wind up in Carnegie Hall. But I had practiced classical music, and I actually studied in Los Angeles, where I grew up, at the L.A. Conservatory. And, by the time I got into junior high school and high school — my brother had been in the service and come back from Korea, and he brought back with him from Japan, for some reason, 78 records from the early '50s of the Dave Brubeck Trio. And I knew nothing of modern jazz, and that introduced me, and then I said I want to be a modern jazz pianist


Surf's Up

Check out the mighty Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet. They have very generously made available for your listening pleasure several mp3 recordings of their magic -including some deftly played Beethoven, Eliot Carter, and Paul Hindemith.

It's your "must click" link for the day.


Do Left Handed Pianists Have An Advantage?

Just Maybe. I'm officialy undecided (er, ambidextrous):

ll piano students must overcome the two hands’ resistance to work separately; by having to work harder on what’s essentially a right-handed instrument, the neurons of left-handed pianists get an extra workout and thus grow stronger.

French pianist Grimaud doesn’t have her own theories, but she says she feels a deep affinity for the harmonically and chordally rich music of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Rachmaninoff —- composers she feels certain were left-handed. (Most pianists agree that piano music by Schubert and Chopin favors the right hand. Mozart feels perfectly ambidextrous.)

Read the rest here.

Nadia Reisenberg

NY Times notes the release of a recording of Chopin works by the late pianist and teacher Nadia Reisenberg:

The four-CD set from the Bridge label, “Nadia Reisenberg: A Chopin Treasury,” Reisenberg may come to the attention of a generation of listeners who have heard little if anything about her. This reissue of recordings made by Westminster Records in the mid-1950s includes Chopin’s complete nocturnes and mazurkas, the Barcarolle, the Berceuse and the Allegro de Concert. It also offers a live recording of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 3, taken from a 1947 recital at Carnegie Hall and issued here for the first time

But, Tommasini not withstanding, you're likely to agree with Schonberg's original assessment of the recording from mid-50s:

rold C. Schonberg of The New York Times, while praising Reisenberg for her accuracy, clarity, musicianship and style, nevertheless found the performances “too perfect and hence lifeless.”

“Seldom does one feel that the pianist is being carried away,” Schonberg wrote, adding that he almost longed “for a touch of disarray.”

A little disarray now and then isn't a bad thing.. Chopin can use it more than some, no?

Gadget Orchestra

so not.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year, New Music

Find yourself something new to play for the new year with the help of pianist Thomas Moore.

Moore has done lover's of contemporary a great service by providing a staggering number of links
to new music resources and composers.

You find it all right here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009