Thursday, December 29, 2005
"Although it was done for Bach and Beethoven, Radio 3 has decided not to broadcast the entire works of Mozart in his 250th anniversary year, because it could come across as "too chocolate-boxy." More.
On the face of it, that seems to be no reason at all. And the only one buying it might just be Rupert Christiansen. Tim Luckhurst's scathing reply stands:
"George Orwell's use of the BBC as a template for totalitarian casuistry can look obsolete nowadays. But the corporation can usually be relied upon to throw up an executive to revive the stereotype. Step forward Roger Wright, Controller of Radio 3. His objection to proposals to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart combines pomposity with a startling contempt for self-interest. " Read the rest here.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
In the news today are reports of an investigation into the pricing of online music.
"Subpoenas issued to Warner Music Group, BMG, EMI Group, and Universal Music came to light over the holidays as all four received requests for information in the form of subpoenas in connection with an industry-wide investigation of the pricing of music downloads." More here.
As Podcasting News recalls, "State attorney generals have previously investigated the major labels over price-fixing issues. In 2003, companies settled a price-fixing suit involving CD sales spearheaded by a group of state attorneys general. The companies agreed to millions in cash payments and millions more in donations of CDs to libraries and schools." More.
Some related odds and ends thoughts here.
"2 Pianos 4 Hands "is the riotous tale of two boys in Canada sharing the same goal: concert pianist stardom," according to Marquis Entertainment, which handles licensing (and sometime produces) this title (and other shows). "They work fervently towards their dream amidst pushy parents, eccentric teachers, hours of repetitive practice, stage fright, the agony of competitions and the dream of greatness. As they mature, they become more aware of the gap between the very good and the great — and come to the humbling realization that greatness may be out of reach."
Sunday, December 25, 2005
And while you're at it check out the "Six Million Dollar Man Christmas Album" and other oddities of the period. It's here.
"My stint as a Baghdad church musician -- 10 weeks, until relieved by the chaplain's assistant -- was not distinguished. If I found 15 minutes during the week to peruse the music, then I'd lucked out. Free time was that scarce. Yet playing on Sunday proved to be no burden -- quite the opposite. Plunking on Beethoven, picking through "Holy Holy Holy" became the week's subtle, unexpected center, a moment of rough but sincere melody in trying, troubling circumstances. It was an unexpected gift." Read the rest here.
Friday, December 23, 2005
"A three channel video projection depicting three professional pianists attempting to perform a piece of music that they have never seen before. Each pianist is shown in a separate projection, and each starts the piece at the same time. They then continue playing at their natural speed. The work, Robert Schumann’s piano concerto in A minor, is challenging, and the pianists make mistakes. After a mistake, the pianist’s screen goes dark for five seconds, and their music stops, while the other pianists continue uninterrupted. Then the projection resumes, and the pianist continues playing. The more challenging the piece becomes, the more mistakes the players make, and the more the three projections turn off. In this piece, the editing itself becomes the taskmaster; the act of cutting determines a player’s presence as performer." More Here.
Described by one reviewer this way: " What begins as familiar music ends up as disjointed dissonance -- but with each pianist laboring honestly to create artistic perfection." Link.
I've really been intrigued by this idea since reading about it.
"Orrett Rhoden has been stirring those kinds of reactions and impressions from playing the piano since his childhood, being recognised as a prodigy certainly by the age of eight." Read the rest here.
Seo & Kato Piano Duo - 1st Prize
Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo - 2nd Prize
De Stefano Piano Duo - 3rd Prize
Be sure to check out the competition website for vid clips. The De Stefano Clip leaves me wanting to hear more. Pity the clips are so short.
Thanks to the Dranoff Competition for making these available online.
Congratulations to the winners! !
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Four movies you could watch over and over: Waiting for Guffman, Duck Soup, Annie Hall, Female Troubles
Four TV shows you love to watch: The Colbert Report, Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons, Strangers with Candy, Smallville.
Four places you've been on vacation: Mexico, Canada, Bahamas, Adirondacks
Four websites you visit daily: TalkingPointsMemo, The Onion, Salon, Google (or pick any four from the WTB Blog Roll).
Four of your favorite foods: Thai, Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese
Four places you'd rather be: Spain, Iceland, New Zealand, Mexico.
That's it and now it's your turn! Tag.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
" Abbott invoked the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The attorney general alleges the company's "MediaMax" technology for copy protection violates the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws in that consumers who use these CDs are offered a license agreement. But even if consumers reject that agreement, Abbott says, files are secretly installed on their computers, posing additional security risks"
Read the rest here.
Best quick take: "Digital media represent a truly revolutionary change in the nature of "content." Attempts by companies to legislate their old business models into the new era will lead to odd and foolish consequences — including, just possibly, this one." More.
"Snoopy’s death has made CB (Charlie Brown) question everything in the world, and that spurs his wandering through Peanuts-ville – he wants to know what the others think of it, whether they believe in heaven for dogs and so on. The crazy twists and turns their lives have taken quickly overpower CB’s quest, though, and the plot soon switches to being more about discrimination against gays than about understanding death. This is because Beethoven (i.e., Schroeder) is, on just one tragic piece of evidence, presumed to be gay, and tortured by the others for it. Logan Marshall-Green is perfect in the part, from the moment he’s glimpsed on stage, hunched over the piano just like his cartoon counterpart."
Move over Peppermint Patti, indeed. Read the rest here.
De Stefano Piano Duo
Seo & Kato Piano Duo
Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo
They will compete in the finals to be held tomorrow evening. Best of luck to all.
Some additional prizes were given out to non-finalists:
Piano Duo Yoshie & Takashi recieved the award for "Best Performance" of the commissioned work for the competition, a work by composer Marcel Bergman. And Duo Scarbo got a nod receiving the "Audience Prize". Congratulations!
Check out the Dranoff website for the competition. There you will find photos and videos (in .wmv format) online of the following duos
Quite good all around.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Read it here.
"Robert Schumann cured himself of a severe episode of mental illness by studying Bach's counterpoint, setting himself a task of composing six fugues on the composer's name. Neuro-musicologist Arthur Harvey, of the University of Hawaii, claims: "Bach's music consistently makes the brain work in a balanced way better than any other." link.
""Of all the music we tested in medical school with patients, colleagues and others, Bach's music consistently made the brain work in a balanced way better than any other genre," said Arthur Harvey, who is also an internationally known neuromusicologist." link
More about the CD and pianist Orgel can be found here. A brief interview with Orgel about the recording can be found here.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
And while you might not be able to download any Bach, you can download about 13 minutes of delicious improvising courtesy of the aforementioned Music in A Suburban Scene. It's quite a spray of notes. Check it out, here.
You find on the blog a schedule, notes from those involved, a treasure trove of links, and more.
You'll find it here.
No word on free downloads as with the Beethoven Experiment. I suppose that's no doubt good news for the recording industry. Speaking of which here are some quotes and thoughts on the latest regarding the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) flap over royalties:
A quote from Music Managers Forum (MMF)"... “This is a battle between the suits and the talent, and we are on the side of the talent. It’s the talent which creates the wealth in the first place - performers who are often writers. The music industry hasn’t handled the online market very well, and now they’ve got into bed with the online providers and are attempting to squeeze the income of the artists.” Read the rest here.
Musicians hit back in downloads dispute
"The group also challenged the record labels to reveal just how much money they currently receive from digital downloads. The Music Alliance has said that if the BPI gets what it wants, then BPI members would receive 40p - 50p per download whereas composers and song writers will get just a few pennies. "We have now submitted our reasons for why the record industry should adopt fresh economic thinking in a digital age to sustain the composing community upon which they rely." said Adam Singer, head of the Music Alliance." More.
Much food for thought all around.
"Pianist Melvyn Tan, the man at the centre of the recent controversy over National Service evasion, said he would defer his public appearance at the Esplanade and not be a judge in a local competition." Details
And this: "Pianist Melvyn Tan, a native of Singapore, has canceled a planned concert there amid accusations that he received special treatment after dodging the draft, Malaysia's Bernama news agency reports."
Every Merchant Ivory movie? Okie Dokie.
Friday, December 16, 2005
A couple of thoughts this morning on classical music on the nation's airwaves. I often wonder if the "classical music is dying" routine doesn't amount to a certain self-fulfilling prophecy. But first this.
Playbill Arts recently ran a bit on classical music on the radio titled " Who Knew? Classical Music Can Be Good for Ratings" on the effect of dropping classical programming at WETA in Washington D.C.. . The last paragraph caught my eye:
"a greater range of ages are now tuning in, citing ratings showing that the percentage of WETA's audience in the 65-74 age bracket has dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent in the past year, while those aged 25-34 rose from 10 percent to 13 percent."
Is that really good news? What's gained might be a loss. I wonder.
And in Boston the three B.'s (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms) are likely to be knocked off the airwaves by country music. WCRB has been sold. Two stories to read this earlier one, speculating on the likely purchase coming down to two buyers Greater Media and Clear Channel:
"...that leaves Greater Media and Clear Channel. Interesting that McCord once ran Greater Media.Both operators have their reasons to buy, but neither of them necessarily include a proclivity for Schumann and Schubert."
And it's now reported that:
"...it certainly seems that we’re going to hear country on (WCRB),” said Scott Fybush, editor of the online newsletter NorthEast Radio Watch. “That’s the most logical thing for them to do.”
I'm inclinced to agree with the head of Marlin Broadcasting: " “To be a genuine world-class city, not to have a full-time commercial classic music station is kind of embarrassing.."
It isn't just "kind of" it is.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Also noteworthy are his transcriptions of the music of Dukas ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice") and Shostakovich ("Russian Dance of the Golden Age"). More here and here.
Monday, December 12, 2005
I freely admit classical music isn't high on my all-time greatest hits for the gym. but check out this list of classical music recommendations for gym rats. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Sweatin' to the Oldies". Choice quote: "All four concertos as well as the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini are packed with surging emotions that will push you into your aerobic zone." More.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
UPDATE: Thinking about the good old days, reminds me to point readers to the
The 1982 Atari Club Christmas Catalog. Step away from the Xbox and remember when. It's all right here.
"According to study results, patrons spent 5 percent more when listening to pop tunes, and when classical music was played, they spent 10 percent more.
Classical music is apparently not only an effect way to chase off teenagers, but a good way to encourage diners to spend more money. Read all about it right here.
Maybe not. This is the kind of news that makes one wonder whether to laugh or cry.According to news reports, "It seems that the victories obtained in the war against illegal file-sharing have given the music industry enough confidence in order to move to other types of so-called infringement of copyright cases....a crackdown on sites that offer free lyrics, scores or guitar licks."
Perhaps we should just start shutting down the libraries while we're at it. Read the rest here. And more.
A great profile of jazz master Dave Brubeck can be read here. A few days back I caught part of an intervew with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air". Check it out along with some of the other jazz links at the bottom of the website. Find it here.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
And, hey, volunteers are needed for the next installment of the glorious Carnival.
Give it a whirl, folks. Check in with TexasBestGrok for the details. C'mon it's easier than growing sea monkey and way more fun.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
"Ji Yeon Shin and Tatiana Mitchko Tessman both won the Gold Medal Siskron-Rice Award of $2,000." Read the rest.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
"A collection of enchanting silent films, "A Christmas Past" offers a nostalgic peek into the Yuletide pleasures of the early 1900s. Evoking the Victorian charm of Currier and Ives prints, these picturesque comedies and tender dramas were produced as cinematic Christmas cards offered to moviegoers of the silent film era."
"A Trap for Santa" (1909)
"A Winter Straw Ride" (1906)
"A Christmas Accident" (1912)
"The Adventures of the Wrong Santa Claus" (1914)
"Santa Claus Vs. Cupid" (1915)
"A Christmas Carol" (1910)
"The Night Before Christmas (1905, 9 min.)
"A Holiday Pageant At Home" (1901, 5 min.)
"Santa Claus" (1925)
The music by Al Kryszak is particularly effective. Check it out here.
"Composers and songwriters are arguing in the UK copyright tribunal that they should receive 7p to 9p from every track downloaded from the internet, instead of the current 5p. The demand, issued by the Music Alliance, which works on behalf of composers, is being made to counter steps by the record companies' association, the British Phonographic Industry, to cut their earnings to 2p per download."
"steps by the record companies association, the British Phonographic Industry, to cut their earnings to 2p per download
Read the rest here
From the wags over at "The Onion".
"The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums." Read the delicious rest of it here.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
And wouldn't you know it, the record labels are already squealing like stuck pigs.
Read all about it here.
The "Open Rights Group" is lobbying Radio 3 to reconsider caving into pressure. Check 'em out here.
And, in related news, you'll likely find this of interest as well: "if file sharing essentially shifts sales away from established acts toward unknown acts, this has potentially very important implications for how talent is developed and distributed in the industry." More here. And on distribution changes there this to consider.
And Bach, Download, independent distribution? That all reminds me to point you to pianist Mei Ting Sun's site on CD Baby. You can download some deliciously played Bach and Schumann. And
if you like it, you'll want the whole CD. Check it out here.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"In the metropolises of contemporary China, as we are constantly informed, a fondness for Beethoven is considered modern, an expression of aspirations for a western lifestyle. Far more desirable still is to have your very own little Beethoven interpreter in the family"
and then there's this image:
"The pianos have been pushed together at the centre of the long, narrow, sales rooms, flanked to the right and left by endless flights of instruction rooms. Each of these sound-proofed cells, measuring four meters square, is furnished identically with a piano, a pairs of chairs, a neon light, dusky pink wallpaper, and a coat rack. During lessons, the little ones can be observed through the windows, and listened to through the door, as they play simple folk melodies in C major, Czerny etudes, easy Bach, or Mozart's "Alla Turca."
Such an image strikes me as off-putting. More so this: "Prevailing in piano training, hence, is a performance mentality not unlike the one found in gymnastics. Musical ability is tested regularly, assigned a competency index, and matched against the competition in contests and auditions. "
And to such questions as these: "Can you really play Haydn and Mozart if you have always lived behind the Great Wall of China, and have never even seen Vienna, Austria, or Europe? Can you plumb the depths of classical music without having a centuries-old tradition behind you, a tradition that resonates unmistakably and continuously when the Berliner Philharmoniker is performing? And what could serve as a source of emotional access to such music in a country where only forty years ago, anyone who played Mozart risked having his fingers broken by Mao's cultural revolutionaries? "
Setting aside the silly eurocentrism, I still find it very seriously doubtful that Lang Lang is the answer.
Read the rest here.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Pretty far I'd say. Details.
Oh yea. It's a keeper. And it's coming to you from today's blog pick: ANAblog. A blog that leans on the new and curbs the quotidian. You might say it's "chewy goodness".
Check 'em out.
Did I mention I have a Christmas wish list?
"The great-great nephew of an Austrian doctor who acquired several fragments of what was thought to be Ludwig van Beethoven's skull in 1863 said recently completed tests show a high likelihood that the bones he inherited 15 years ago belonged to the great composer." Read the rest here.
Tests indicate that the skulls bones are indeed Beethoven's. Details. More info here.
See pictures of 'em here. A reproduction from them of entire skull can be seen in a foto in this article.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Around and about the same time that Lacan was delivering his famous lectures on psychoanalytic theory at St-Anne Hospital in Paris in the 1950's, Alfred Cortot was busy with a series of his own at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.
Cortot's classes were, surprisingly enough, recorded by a young engineering student from 1954 to 1961. These have been collected, edited, and reintroduced on a 3 CD set by none other than pianist Murray Perahia. (The link takes you to Sony website for the CD collection. Does nobody pay attention to details? The site invites you to "sign-up" for Cortot's latest tour dates and news. Good grief!).
There is a very interesting write-up about both the collection and Cortot's classes in the Boston Globe by Richard Dyer. Dyer, who attended the classes, provides an interesting glimpse:
"Cortot demanded that a student submit a written analysis of any piece he wanted to play. The pianist, a tiny, elegantly turned-out man, would begin by discussing those analyses; then he would listen to the students play. Finally he would comment on what he had heard, illustrating his points at the piano, sometimes offering lethal imitations of what he didn't want to hear -- and just had. His voice was melodious, his intellect formidable; he was simultaneously intuitive and spontaneous. "
Read the rest here.
A very, very, short excerpt of his remarks/teaching on the Chopin Ballade no1 can be heard here.
You can listen to early 20th century recording of Cortot playing Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" and Albeniz' "Malaguena" on this fine site dedicated to the art of Cortot.
And Lacan? He has provided loads of material of the various cottage industries of academe. Lacan's words are also the text for a work by composer Nathan Michael.
See him on tv here.
It is the dreamwork which does not think.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
What is it? A COMPLETE SUITE
Described as a musical allegory of the application of continuum mechanics to structural geology and tectonics.
Or more engagingly put: "The drama is set in 1717, a year when both Handel and Newton lived in London and is based on the premise that Handel has lost his compositional ability by neglecting note duration (kinematics), note intensity (dynamics), and tonal relations (constitutive laws). A mysterious storm blows Hopkins from the future and Hooke from the past to join Newton in Handel's studio. Using the analogy between music and mechanics, they help Handel regain his muse, and conclude that only by virtue of a complete suite of relationships will either discipline produce pleasing results."
Hey, Hey, Hey.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
"Living Wall is an ambient installation collecting, recomposing and playing sonic memories. The computational processes that take place are displayed on four LED arrays with a total number of 3000 white LEDs.The installation has microphones recording fragments of human interaction. Each new recorded fragment is analysed using an adaptive sound categorization technique, determining its relation to previously stored clips." Read all about it here.
Check out the website for vid clips.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
"An accompanist shares many traits with an anaesthetist. He generally has studied longer than the surgeon and must constantly stay alert to prevent an unpredictable disaster, but when all is said and done, the surgeon (like the soloist) gets all of the credit."
I found this on a blog that all pianophiles will want to bookmark and visit often: The Collaborative Piano Blog. Check it out folks!.
There's a remarkable photo of Coupler, Stravinksy, Boulanger, and a nun here.
You can hear her Rumba for piano here.
Kudos to the site's owner!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Some that have been gnawing at my attentiont:
Brian Sacawa's musings on the digital revolution,.
Emejota's series of thoughtful writings on Gould.
Pliable's post on intellectual property.
Ferre's brilliant post on "Emerson, Lake, and Palmer".
The chewy goodness that is "Music in a Suburban Scene"
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Check him out and his video clips. He's the "Video Game Pianist".
Read the rest here.
I don't entirely agree with the idea that Elgar and piano are less than happy match. Some of the smaller works are real gems. One of them being his In Smyrna for Piano.
"'Made in America" is a new orchestral piece by composer Joan Tower. How it came to exist is an American can-do story. The 14-minute work was co-commissioned by more than 64 American orchestras, at least one in each state, in a project coordinated by the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer, with sponsorship from the Ford Motor Company Fund, as well as other government, corporation, and foundation support."
Read the rest here.
This is one you'll want to book mark and visit often.
"MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL is the premier classical CD review site on the internet. With a team of 70 reviewers we produce up to 300 classical CD reviews each month. Well over 14,000 reviews are now available on-line"
You find it all here.
Friday, November 18, 2005
"Mason Flink's fingers flutter across the keyboard like raindrops on cement, his upper body arching toward the baby grand piano as the melodies of Chopin and Schumann fill the air. The quick tempos would be challenging to play with 10 fingers, but the 17-year-old Highland Park High senior doesn't have that option. Born with ulnar dysplasia, a condition also known as ulnar club hand, Mason's right hand has only three fingers".
Read the rest here.
Read the rest here.
"It seems that the XCP software from UK company First4Internet that Sony had been using to prevent unauthorised copying of its music CDs, until it agreed to recall some 4.7 million discs, contains code 'infringing the copyright of several open source projects', Johansen notes in his blog. This includes code that he himself wrote for VLC, a free cross-platform media player."
Oh the irony....
The whole sad and idiotic affair is one more reason for people to support the small labels.
The Association of International Glaucoma Socieities serves up an operatic "hymn" about glaucoma. Seriously.
They are having their annual meeting in Vienna. Enuf said?
Have a listen by clicking here.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
It's a rugby league of conservatory students. And it's the title of jazz pianist Dorian Mode's memoir:
" The Mozart Maulers is a comic memoir based on Dorian's experiences as a student at the Conservatorium of Music.
At the time he was seeing a psychiatrist who encouraged him to externalize his anger and use an alternative to drug therapy: Rugby League. Unable to convince any team to take him on, he formed his own team with other music students at the Con called The Mozart Maulers. They took on Sydney Uni and surprised everyone.
His screenplay of the story was recently green lighted to be made into a $10 million film
Details are here.
More importantly, I highly recommend giving his CD "A Café in Venice" a listen.
The whole site is well worth poking about... plenty to make you laugh outloud like this send up description of the first movement of Beethoven's 6th symphony (one of my favorites):
"swelling of smiles and mosquito bites upon arrival in the moist farmlands near the time share condos of grundhaven in the rheinland"
Anyhow, the best part of the article is a link to the Brooklyn Country Music News and Views.
And, yea, CMA really ought to stay in Nashville. It just doesn't seem right for it to be anywhere else...
Read it here.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Duo De Stefano
PianoDuo Yoshie & Takashi
Chipak & Kushnir
Duo Scarbó (PR/Spain)
Shapiro & Varshavsky
Seo & Kato
Potapova & Nuralieva
Susan & Sarah Wang
Unison Piano Duo
Marzec & Tsalka
Above are some links websites belonging to the respective duos. Shapiro/Varshavsky and Duo Scarbo have some interesting audio clips. Scarbo has some nice clips taken from a performance at Reina Sofia Museum in Spain. Noteworthy their handling of George Crumbs' Makrokosmos IV. Nice stuff indeed.
I don't find mention of any webcast or live radiocasts of the competition. But I'll keep checking. This looks like a lot of fun. Perhaps one or more of the competitors will have something on their website. Good luck to all!
Monday, November 14, 2005
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.