Sunday, August 23, 2009

 Richard Wagner’s Siegfried opera gets a jaw-dropping modern makeover with over 5 hours of video played through 14 simultaneous projectors; it debuted June 2008 in Valencia, Spain

forget counting sheep on Orchard Road.

SIEGFRIED from Martin Inda on Vimeo.

Meet the Dog

This is Albert. He's adorable. And he knows it.

adverse camber

Still cracks me up.

Leo Sayer

Oh yea!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

who killed mozart

Or rather what?

Now a group of Dutch researchers has suggested that he died from a bacterial infection spread by soldiers which was rife in Vienna at the time.

Given his symptoms this sounds very likely to be the case.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Man In the Ballpark

Now here's something you don't read on the sports page everyday:

"In the coda of the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, composer Johann Sebastian Bach repeats the same chord sequence over and over again, leading the listener to anticipate one resolution, only to provide a tone completely different.

The only tones emanating from Nationals Park in the top of the first inning Sunday afternoon were the faded drones of an audience that had heard this composition too many times this season — game begins, visiting team assumes a lead, game ends in dreadful fashion. Arizona leadoff batter Trent Oeltjen looped a home run into the Washington bullpen in right field on the day’s third pitch, and the familiar chord sequence began."

via the Columbia Journalism Review.

musical cartography

Q:  Which U.S. state is most like a piano? A: Ohio.

Or so says one mapmaker --and it's not just because it has 88 counties.

I do like this:
A new form of paranoia arises, in which you think that all songs are actually maps. Even that burst of bird song that you hear in the alley behind your house at 3am is, you conclude, an unacknowledged spy's cartography, full of secrets to those who can decode it.

Move over Da Vinci Code and make room for the Ohio Code. 

Check it out folks

Music Map of Ohio

Too Much, Too Litte, Too Late

re: the NYT op-ed on piano competition

I didn't find the read as "explosive" as Jessica, but it is a starting point for further reflection/conversation. More about it later. But for now check it out. More importantly, what do you think?


it's raining men ... at the mostly mozart fest

so says the ArtsJournal blog. link.

the other mozart

Meet the Mozart Media player. Maybe not as perfect as the composer himself, but i want one... cheese factor alone scores big points (and, yo, what' up with the hair on those dudes in the ad).

point, click, enjoy

mozart and perfection and everything you never wanted to know

Please. Please don't feed the trolls. 

Is Mozart perfect?


and then there's this

A 77-year-old piano that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and has become a symbol for peace is heading to New York next year as the city marks the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
When the United States dropped the bomb on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945, the Yamaha upright piano was in the blast radius. It still retains very low levels of radiation and shards of glass are forever embedded in the black lacquer.


e la nave va

Not what Beethoven Had in Mind

 So not helping

The continuous wars between Arabs and Jews has moved from the battlefield to the symphony hall, as Jews in the Galilee, fed up with boisterous street parties after Arab weddings, counterattacked by turning up the volume of Beethoven and Mozart. Injuries have been limited to headaches.


Friday, August 07, 2009

The Morning Tube

Van Cliburn YouTube Competition

Here's something that might be of interesting to quite few folks. The always enterprising folks at the Cliburn foundation have launched the 2nd YouTube Contest for Amateur Pianists.

The YouTube Contest is open to any classical pianist who does not derive a significant portion of his/her income from performance, composition, and/or piano instruction and is at least thirty-five years old. The winner may not have won any previous Cliburn competitions.

Sounds like great fun!

Rules and Details here.

Here's the Cliburn YouTube Page.

There is plenty on both sites to keep you busy thru your midmorning coffee break :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

So you want to work in a piano store

I did enjoy this quote from a novel published in 1887

"He had no particular aptitude for trade, and that by which he lived (he had entered upon it thirty years ago rather by accident than choice) was thoroughly distasteful to him. As a dealer in pianofortes, he came into contact with a class of people who inspired him with a savage contempt, and of late years his business had suffered considerably from the competition of tradesmen who knew nothing of such conflicts between sentiment and interest. A majority of his customers obtained their pianos on the "hire-purchase system," and oftener than not, they were persons of very small or very precarious income, who, rabid in the pursuit of gentility signed agreements they had little chance of fulfilling; when in pecuniary straits, they either raised money upon the instruments, or allowed them to fall into the hands of distraining creditors. Inquiry into the cirumstances of a would-be customer sometimes had ludicrous results; a newly-married couple, for instance, would be found tenanting two top-floor rooms, the furnishing whereof seemd to them imcomplete without the piano of which their friends and relatives boasted. Not a few professional swindlers came to the office; confederate rogues, vouching for each other's respectability, got possession of pianos merely to pawn or sell them, having paid no more than the first month's charge. It was Mr. Lord's experience that year by year the recklessness of the vulgar became more glaring, and deliberate fraud more artful."

via "Iron Tongue of Midnight".

One for the Hippy in All of Us

This pretty much cracks me up:

On Sunday, classical music lovers and Deadheads will unite when conductor Marin Alsop leads the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in the fourth live performance of Dead Symphony no. 6, the cornerstone of a concert commemorating the 14th anniversary of Garcia's death. The 12-movement work, which features improvisation and in-jokes such as a reference to the Dead's favorite warm-up song, the Italian ditty "Funiculì, Funiculà," will be performed alongside Australian composer Matthew Hindson's techno music-inspired Rave-Elation (Schindowski Mix). The concert will be followed by a discussion with Johnson, longtime Dead publicist and biographer Dennis McNally and David Gans, host of the nationally syndicated "Grateful Dead Hour" radio show

I really want to hear the Dead Symphony.

Piano Lesson via Skype

Jeffrey Biegel has discovered distance learning with the help of skype.

My own take is that at best this is an excellent tool that can be used within certain limits -technical and musical. My sense is that the art of teaching (and learning) one-on-one in the studio is still best. The communication (spoken and unspoken), immediacy, and the entire practicable field of perception is much greater. What say you? Still it has a place -and can be an important tool.



Jack Wright points the way to an interesting angle to the recent story of the fake bomber who turned up at La Guardia airport. He reportedly is a talent classical pianist.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cleveland International Piano Competition - Updates

I hear loads of of good things -and I'm not surprised- about pianist Dmitri Levkovich, and by all accounts he is doing rather nicely at the Cleveland competition. Details and more on him and the others can be found here.

Lekovich won the Iturbi earlier and you should check out his facebook page. Deets.

Gould in Love

Gould fans can look forward to Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould  a new  a new film by Peter Raymont and Michele Hoze that's showing at the Toronto film festival. I hope to see this one. It sounds like an interesting flick.

"People think of him as this weird, reclusive, paranoid person. In part, he was that, but he was also a very normal person and a very loving person ... he had a healthy sex life," Raymont said at yesterday's packed TIFF announcement at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which drew dozens of Canadian filmmakers.


More on the recently discovered piano works

Last sunday a performance of the 2 new works by a very young Mozart was given. You can now hear them for yourself online -- a short composition and what is believed to be a 1st movement of a harpsichord concerto.

Details and audio clips found here.

scroll to the bottom for the clips.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Interstices: Christopher O'Riley Interview

This is definitely worth having a listen to: an interview (including performances) with pianist Christopher O'Riley exploring his "transcriptions" of rock and pop music.

O'Riley is certainly one of the most interesting and enterprising of pianists about. He hosts the enormously popular "From the Top" classical showcase for young talen on Public Radio and is one of the few classical musicians you might legitimately describe as having "cross-over" appeal to pop music lovers (his transcriptions  of Radiohead, Nirvana, and Nick Drake are phenom).

Link to Interview. 

His website (including blog and loads of rich media) is found here. Chris and noir... That sounds about right :)

New Piano Competition in the Works

The Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Orchestra are joining forces to launch a competition for young performers. This is looks promising and gets underway next year with a competition piano performer. 2011 it will follow with a violin competition.

"The top three competitors will also be awarded full four-year scholarships to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, pending admission, valued at more than $100,000 each. In addition to prize money, the first-prize winner will receive concert engagements with orchestras in Beijing and Shanghai, China."

Nice!  Details are more are found here.