Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unknown Rachmaninov

This is my must have CD for the month.

"First, it was recorded on Rachmaninov's own Steinway, housed at his Swiss villa; second, it contains two premiere recordings. The new works are a recently discovered Fugue in D minor (1891) and the piano version of the Suite for Orchestra in D minor (1891). These rarities are flanked by a handful of preludes and etudes-tableaux, plus the rip-roaring Second Sonata, Op.36."
Hats off to Denis Matuev.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Steinway Legends

Speaking of Steinway.

Just short of buying the piano lover in your life a Steinway for Christmas, this will do very nicely:

"The Steinway Legends Grand Edition. The entire series is offered in a unique boxed set crafted in the shape of a Steinway Grand Piano. The box includes 10 2-disc sets each one featuring a separate artist; Vladimir Horowitz, Claudio Arrau, Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mitsuko Uchida, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Wilhelm Kempff, Emil Gilels, Martha Argerich, and Alfred Brendel, plus a deluxe booklet and a bonus CD."
Very nice indeed. link

Stephen Hough

"Acclaimed British pianist Stephen Hough (huff) is the 2008 winner of the Northwestern University School of Music's Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance."
One of my all time favorie pianists. Link

Hannibal Lecter on Tour

File this one under unexpected.
"Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins has unveiled plans to embark on a major world tour - as a concert pianist."
Details here. And if you can't make to one of the performances, don't worry there is apparently a CD in the works.
Hopkins has a CD, featuring his compositions for new film Slipstream, coming out and he has suddenly become a composer of note.
He adds, "I've been asked if I would write symphonic music for a symphony orchestra in Australia. Also I've been invited to Prague to write some music there."

Just generally invited to Prague? Hey I wanna go too......

Monday, November 19, 2007

Play It Forward

Hippies, minstrels, and motorists take note:

The Public Piano Peace Tour has kicked off, or more accurately rolled off, in the Morongo Basin. Public Piano Peace is not the name of an alternative rock band whose music defies description; however, music is intrinsically related to the process. It is also an athletic endeavor.

Dang! Why am I not having this kind of fun?!

Buying a Bosendorfer

How about Bosendorfer itself? Broadman pianos of Vienna now owns Bosendorfer, beating back by a whisker or two Japanese titan Yamaha.

Details here.

The New Instrument?

Maybe it's just the holidays looming ahead. I'm certainly no luddite. But I can't help but think this "instrument" basically boils down to another crappy VST with blinking lights.

I am speaking here of the new "Tenori-On" musical instrument from Yamaha.

Pictures and videos found here.

This would have been so cool in 1978.

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 "".

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.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britney, Beethoven, and a Dash of Inspiration

Ya don't say

"It's really a question about inspiration ... what is it that Beethoven sees in this 32 bars of nothing?" says Kaufman. "I always say it would be like if Philip Glass found a song by Britney Spears and decided to spend the next four years of his life studying and making variations on it."



Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

"Zoe wants to play piano. She really wants to play. She idolizes the late great Russian-born pianist Vladimir Horowitz, fantasizes about being a child prodigy and dreams of headlining at Carnegie Hall. Instead, she plays the organ: a "wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag" that her well-intentioned but socially phobic and easily swayed father was talked into buying at the Rewind Used Music store."

Going straight to the WTB reading list. Details.

Chopin. Composer. Pianist. Bar.

Sounds like my kind of place

Devoted to the Franco-Polish composer, his music reverberates around the tiny bar while drinks and décor are devoted to the great man, too.

Cheers. Read the rest here.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What He Said

Your cheery thought for the day:

"It i s easy to play any musical instrument. All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself". - J.S. Bach

Friday, September 07, 2007

Une Femme Mariee: Glenn Gould's Secret

Not exactly what you'd call a "Henry Orient" story, but it is one that's most intriguing for fans of Glenn Gould.

Now, for the first time, we know that the intensely private Gould carried on an affair for five years, beginning in 1967, with a married German-American painter named Cornelia Foss. She left her husband Lukas, himself a prominent pianist and conductor, and moved her two children to Toronto at the height of the affair. A year before her move, Gould had asked her to marry him.


Piano in a Can

Mad props to "Piano Geek" for uncovering the most useless keyboard ever.

Piano Can

At least it is very colorful!

Back to School Quiz

September means a new school year. And for the classical blogosphere it kicks off with a new quiz from "Soho the Dog".

1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?

Definitely the acidic handling of a Shostakovich's 7th in Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra".

2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.

Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach.

3. Great piece with a terrible title.

Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum

4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?

Benjamin Britten. The "Scottish Ballade" alone seals the deal for me.

5. Who's your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)

"My father made me neurotic and my husband made me crazy"
- Wanda Toscanini Horowitz

6. Terrible piece with a great title?

Daugherty's "Le tombeau de Liberace"

7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?

Love the use of the Delibes' "Flower Duet" in Five Corners. Or how about Mahler in Herzog's "Lessons of Darkness"?

There are so many great films with effective use of classical music it's not really possible to pin it down to one.

8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.

Has Rufus Wainwright finished his "opera" yet? No? Then put me down for "Saturday Night Fiedler". Why? Four words: "Night on Disco Mountain". Nuf said.

9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?

Sam Cooke.

10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.

Gustave Flaubert.


For opera nerds: If you had to choose:
a) Lawrence Tibbett or Robert Merrill?
b) Amelita Galli-Curci or Lily Pons?

a) Robert Merrill
b) Lily Pons.

For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.

Edwin Fischer's WTC.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bionic Pianist?

"Conceivably". Did it or didn't it?

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm plays the piano -
This dexterity approaches that of a native arm, which can make 30 motions, and trumps the previously most agile bionic arm, the Proto 1, which could bend at the elbow, rotate its wrist and shoulder, and open and close its fingers. A person wearing a Proto 2 could conceivably play the piano.

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The Return of the Red Baron

Sir Elton's "Red Piano" show hits the road.

If any other 60-year-old musician put on a show as self-congratulatory as this, you'd guess they were about to retire. Not Elton John. He is inexhaustible.

Sir Elton John in concert with his (red) piano - Telegraph

Powered by ScribeFire.


Very sad to learn this morning of his passing.

AFP: Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Music Boxes, Computers, and More

Today's web pick is the "Music Animation Machine" website.

Here's a little something (music of Brahms) from the site's "YouTube" channel.


I have not had time to comb through the entire site, but what I've seen already looks pretty interesting. What is it? A website offering Jazz piano lessons online.

You can find it here. Check it out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today's Web Pick

International Music Score Library Project

There are lots of treasures there to keep your fingers busy. The Beethoven symphonies arranged by Liszt, the on-going Bach project, and loads more good things.

The IMSL Project is available in: Deutsch · Ελληνικά · Español · Français · Italiano
Nederlands · Polski · Português · Русский · Türkçe.

It's a a "must-visit" for your daily web surf.

And Another One

And if you're not interested in Elvis' piano, there is Bruce Springsteen's (also on e-bay)

A piano once owned by Bruce Springsteenis being auctioned off on eBay to the highest bidder...The instrument was also played by music legends including Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Patti Smith.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Meanwhile in Cleveland

A Russian pianist takes home the gold.
Alexander Ghindin of Russia, age 30, has won the 2007 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He receives $50,000, an Alice Tully Hall recital, a compact disc recording on the Naxos label, two years of concert management, and engagements drawing up to $100,000 in income.
By all accounts a pianist to keep on your radar.


Summer of Elvis for Piano Lovers

Following on the heels of recent spate of celebrity owned pianos on the market comes news that the King's own beloved Knabe will be up for the highest bidder. And it looks to be pricey.

The starting price is $250,000 but we hope to sell it for somewhere around $2 million,” the company selling the piano on the auction website eBay, said. The online auction of the white Knabe baby grand began this week and runs until August 18.


Ebay link here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rocket Man and the Internet

Elton says,

"I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span," he said.

Wake me when it's over, Elton.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

David Fray

Following up on my previous raves about David Fray, along comes this.

Fray concludes with the Boulez Incises, a kind of etude after Ravel - Scarbo's personal hallucination. Three and one-half minutes in length, it keep Fray's fingers active and energies focused. As a foil to Bach, it has given us something--and someone--to think about.


Taking a walk on the wild side

Now this pricks up the ear:

Lou Reed has teamed up with the German contemporary classical music ensemble Zeitkratzer for a new CD and DVD.


File it under "Memo to Prokovief" Details .

Delinquent Delete-o: Classical Music

Or something like that.

It's been done before. And by most accounts successfully. What is it? Using classical music to scare away the young 'uns.

The Tacoma Mall Transit Center, the first bus stop to receive an upgrade, is having speakers installed and will start blasting hits by the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Bach this week, the Tacoma News Tribune reported Tuesday.

So not surprised.


New Orleans International Piano Competition

Congrats to Konstantin Soukhovetski!

The young Russian won with the seal of two juries, earning both the $1,000 audience favorite prize and honors from a professional panel that had heard him perform three recitals in a week.

Verbier Festival Live - On Your Computer

Just a reminder.

If you haven't been following the Verbier Festial online, you are missing out.

Do yourself a favor and visit the website set up for the live concerts, films, and backstage chats. Find it here.

Bonus reason to visit: S. Richter. They are showing the film "Richter the Enigma" online in two parts. Yesterday was Part 1 and Part 2 is currently up.

It is one smartly designed site. Easy to navigate, easy to find loads of interesting broadcasts (upcoming and past of Marta Argerich,Mikhail Pletnev, Roland Pontinen, Evgeny Kissin, and many more).

Make it your "Must Click" mission for the day.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Robotic Monkey Hand

" They have demonstrated for the first time that neural activity recorded from a monkey's brain can control fingers on a robotic hand, making it play several notes on a piano."

Color me scared. Link

China Hearts Ohio

A deepening mutual respect between the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the people of China has caught the attention of the Chinese national television network. They network dispatched a four-person video crew to create a documentary about this week's 13th Annual Oberlin International Piano Competition and Festival.


I hope this can be seen here.


Norwegian pianists have their own entry in Wikipedia.

Find it here.

For the record, I love Norway.

today's web pick

Pianored music y pianos

Just added to the WTB's list of pianos sites! This is a great resource.

And it's where I found this bit of tasty playing

The Human Piano

I am not so sure about the "piano" part of this, but it does look very much like a lot of fun.

A few years ago I had this idea of building a monstrous instrument that would be played with giant wire-bound gloves and big copper bars. After making the prototype I accidently grabbed one of the bars with my hand and realized that the sound went through me!. That led to the idea of a whole piano made up of human hands

Details and video are found here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday's Tube


Monday, July 23, 2007

Damaged Goods: Mind, Music, and Musicophilia

"In 1994, when Tony Cicoria was forty-two... he was struck by lightning. He had an out-of-body experience. 'I saw my own body on the ground. I said to myself, 'Oh shit, I’m dead.' …Then—slam! I was back'... Life had returned to normal, seemingly, when 'suddenly over two or three days, there was this insatiable desire to listen to piano music.' This was completely out of keeping with anything in his past. He started to teach himself to play piano. And then, he started to hear music in his head. In the third month after being struck, Cicoria was inspired, even possessed, by music, and scarcely had time for anything else."

Read the rest here.
Via the always splendid Music Thing, I read with interest that Oliver Sacks has a new book out. This one explore the musical obsessions and transformations of the human mind as brought on by serious brain injury. The book is titled "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. You'll find it here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pimp My Keyboard

Whoa! Did you all know about this?


Lang Lang

And there's this to mull over

Meanwhile, Lang Lang is reinforcing his status as a Steinway artist by helping to launch a children's piano now being marketed in China. The "Lang Lang" Steinway comes with a front panel that converts into a whiteboard, and, with 20 million Chinese now studying the instrument, sales will be huge.

Good Grief

It's stuff like this that makes take a deep breath and then laugh:
"As if that wasn’t enough, the pianist returned following intermission to perform Beethoven’s final piano concerto, “No 32 in C Minor (Op. 111).”"


And in Cleveland

The Cleveland International Piano Competition, a familiar stop for many a pianist on the way to the major piano competitions, gets under way this week.

Information about it can be found here.

Be advised that clicking on the link to the competition web page will load a short audio clip. Note to webmaster: it. is. totally. annoying.

Interestingly the competition will also feature a "junior jury" of teen pianists who do some voting as well.

And Cleveland's "Plain Dealer" has set-up a full-on special section devoted to the competition. Find it here. (see thier article "Stardom remains fleeting for most winners of Cleveland International Piano Competition". Thanks for sharing).

Kapell Competition Winner Announced

Sofya Gulyak is the winner of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition. The International Jury awarded First Prize to Ms. Gulyak after the three Kapell finalists performed in the concerto round with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Lockington on July 21 in the Center’s Dekelboum Concert Hall to a sold-out house.

2nd prize went to Sara Daneshpour and coming in at 3rd Spencer Myer

Audience prize went to Guylak as well.

In the online voting for winner the ranking was:

1st - Sara Daneshpour
2nd - Spencer Myer
3rd - Sofya Gulya

Details here.

Congratulations to all !

Some behind the scenes video of the competition can be found here.

Could Have Been?

Holly Hunter (of "The Piano" fame) :

"I've suffered a little from stage fright in my time. I started mwanting to play the piano when I was six years old, and my parents finally got me a piano when I was nine. So I was thinking, 'This is what I want to do, be a mconcert pianist.' "I was kind of obsessed. But then I realised I couldn't play in front of people. I went to a couple of recitals and left the bench in the middle of the concert.

There's your "curious factoid" of the day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Interivew with Christopher O'Riley

Pithy but linkworthy.


And check out of the review of his latest reworking of Nick Drake songs.

Find it here.

Visitor Map

The well tempered blog's "Visitor Map" (link in the r.h. column) is back online. My most fervent wish is for markers from Iceland and Norway. I am completely obsessed with Norway nowadays. Actually, I think it might be because I am completely obsessed with Grieg's piano music -especially the variations- after so long a time of not caring one wit or another about it. Make your mark on this blog today!

Vroom Vroom = Duh duh duh duuuuuuh

Classical music has been put to all kinds of uses - everything from chasing away teenagers to purportedly building the gray mass of events. Now this from the world of public relations.

Beethoven would be rolling over in his grave if he could hear his Symphony No. 5 "remixed" for Hyundai Motor America's latest sale.
The 'Duh' effort is based on 'the idea that it's a no-brainer to pick a Hyundai,' says Jeff Goodby.
The 'Duh' effort is based on 'the idea that it's a no-brainer to pick a Hyundai,' says Jeff Goodby.
That's because Hyundai's version of the song, along with seven other classics, contains a single lyric: "Duh.

My quick take. Lighten up folks. Link

Rolando Luna

Congratulations to Rolando Luna

Cuban pianist Rolando Luna won the first prize of Swiss international jazz contest "Piano Solo" recently concluded here as part of the 2007 International Jazz Festival, in which he also got the Audience Award.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Leon Fleisher

This doesn't sound good at all.

Pianist Leon Fleisher, who for three decades was unable to play with his right hand, has canceled a performance at Tanglewood because of an inflammation of both hands.

Fleisher was scheduled to play Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto on Sunday _ the day before his 80th birthday _ with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He will be replaced by Marc-Andre Hamelin, the orchestra said Friday.


The Week's Well Tempered Rotations

One Day in Brooklyn - 7/7/07

One day in Brooklyn 77 drumkits gathered. And this is what is looked like: Here

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Man in the Science Hall

Now this is interesting:

Dr Barry Cheetham, a senior lecturer in The School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester, is seeking to combine his academic expertise in communications, networks and digital signal processing with his love of choral singing.

He is looking for funding to drive forward a project that will bring together amateur and semi-professional singers across Europe for seamless and polished live performances.

Read the rest here

Where do I sign up?

CD I'm Most Looking Forward to Listening to?

This one. David Fray is indeed one to watch.

International Keyboard Institute & Festival

One reason to love NYC in the summer is the International Keyboard Institute & Festival at Mannes.

It runs until the 29th of this month. Check it out.

Brochure here

Kapell Competition: Finalists

The jury for this year's University of Maryland "William Kapell International Piano Competition" have announced the finalists:

Sara Daneshpour (USA)
Sofya Gulyak (Russia)
Spencer Myer (USA)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Today's Must Click Blog: Squeezytunes

Squeeze some time into your day to visit "Squeezytunes". It is a delightful blog that "covers electromechanical and mechanical keyboard instruments (ie. not modern synthesisers), including all types of organs, squeezeboxes and pianos." Not to be missed are the old timey piano lesson postcard reproductions. Check it out!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Verbier Festival

The gears are turning for the launch of Verbier Festival and Academy on Friday (July 20 - August 5).

If you're not able to attend, you're still in luck. Internet users everywhere will be able to enjoy online (in hi-def audio/image) webcasts of concerts, rehearsals, and interviews. Among the artists slated for this year are Martha Agerich, Nelson Freire, Helene Gabriella montero, Sarah Chang, Renee Fleming Grimaud, Hillary Hahn, Mikhail Pletnev, Zubin Mehta and many more.

Broadcasts can found here

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Body and Soul

a very interesting post by Teresa on her fine blog contemporá/âneas included this remarkable clip of the piece "optical identity". Check it out.

Steinway’s Double-Keyboard Piano

This really is a monster of sorts: a piano 164 keys and four pedals. And what's more it's the only one of its kind.

It does not add a new sonority. The double-keyboard piano sounds like a piano, but with fuller chords and denser harmonies. Unlike an organ with additional stops and pipes or a harpsichord with separate strings for the second manual, the double-keyboard piano still has only one set of hammers and strings.
Read more all about it here.

And a nice video clip let's you see it in action here. Pianist Christopher Taylor discusses the instrument and its possibilities.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

William Kapell International Piano Competition

The Kapell competition is underway. The semi-finalists are:

Vadimas Chaimovicius (Lithuania)
Sara Daneshpour (USA)
Alexei Gulenco (Moldova)
Sofya Gulyak (Russia)
Grace Eun Hae Kim (Korea)
Kana Mimaki (Japan)
Spencer Myer (USA)
Aleyson Scopel (Brazil)
Ti Xin (China)

A last hurrah for Spencer? Must be pushing the upper-age limit for most competitions by now. Best of luck to him and all the others.

Details and more here

Free events to note. Pianoluscious links.

And while you're out and about on the net, why not visit the William Kapell webpage.

The Joy of Liberace

I want this!
Joy of Liberace, Retro Recipes from America's Kitschiest Kitchen is the first-ever officially sanctioned book by the Liberace Foundation; complete with many never-before-seen archival photographs and coupled with the brand new concept of Bling Cooking™.
Bling cooking? I want to know about bling piano playing. You can get your copy right here.

Piano Bar - Coming to a Computer Screen Near You

This has got to be popular in Washington DC. Seems that place is awash in piano bars.

What is it? "The Piano Bar Online". Check it out, here.

At home with Schnabel

A special treat. A teacher of my teacher. Does that date me?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monkey's Uncle

I came across this interesting little website. It's a short quiz consisting of a series of paintings. Your job? Correctly identify which were painted by professional artists and which were done by an ape. Find it here.

And speaking of monkeys, I had no idea there was a contretemp about the possibility of indcuting the 60's band "The Monkees" into the rock and roll hall of fame. I say why not? After all if the "Banana Splits" can be in the Hall of Fame, why not the "Monkees"? Actually, the "Banana Splits" aren't, but it'd be kind of cool. No?

When Pianos Attack

Have you ever worried about your piano attacking you? I didn't think so. I hadn't either.

But I have given it a few thoughts after seeing this video clip.

Scariest. Piano. Ever.

all good things come to an end

And that includes my vacation. It was good, long, and full of mountains, fresh air, baseball, magnificent starlight, good books, family, and pretty much internet-free. And still it's good to be back.

Regular blogging to resume. Yay!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Speaking of Movies

A new piano concerto from a well-known British film composer.

Nigel Hess, who has composed music for more than 100 television programmes and films, has met with Prince Charles to discuss the piano concerto, which will be premiered next month at a concert dedicated to his grandmother

Get Well Wishes

Let's hope all is well for pianist Helene Grimaud.

A recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall by French pianist Hélène Grimaud ended abruptly Sunday evening when an ailing Grimaud walked offstage after only the third piece on her program.

Speaking of Career Changes

OK. So we have "janitor-to-pianist" in the news, but there's also this charming "pianist to microbrewer" story.

"TAKE a classical pianist - Simon Walkenhorst. Put him on honeymoon with his opera singer wife, Beth Williams, through Britain's finest beer country, and you've got a recipe for career change."

Piano. Great ale. What else is there?

That other lady from Argentina

Move over Martha! This great news as Fliter is an absolutely stunning talent.

Ingrid Fliter, the fast-rising 33-year-old Argentine pianist, has signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics. Her first disc for the label, an all-Chopin recital, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2008


Poor Billy Joel

The grand piano BILLY JOEL used on his early eighties Nylon Curtain tour has failed to fetch the $10,000 (GBP5,000) asking price on auction site eBay.


Perhaps things will go better for Fats Domino's piano auction. Details.

From Janitor to Concert Pianist

The sort of thing you imagine happening in a movie (at least a Lifeline movie).

A Polish janitor at Glasgow University is set to launch a career as a concert pianist - after he was caught tickling the ivories on the university's chapel piano when he thought no-one was listening.

Aleksander Kudajczyk, 28, who cleans the law department every day at 6am, became the talk of the campus after he played Chopin on the chapel's grand.


Good stuff!

Did I call it or what? "A university janitor's secret life as a virtuoso pianist was discovered in a Good Will Hunting-style moment" link

Friday, June 15, 2007

Meet Sir George

English jazz pianist George Shearing is now a Sir after accepting a knighthood from British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The veteran musician, who has been blind all his life, brought his wife Lady Eleanor to the ceremony at the Queen's London residence Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

Strauss' Heirs told to Pay Up

A court has ordered heirs of German composer Richard Strauss to share royalties with the heirs of librettist and poet Hugo von Hoffmansthal for nine collaborations, including the popular operas Der Rosenkavalier and Elektra.
Seems fair to me. Link.

And even more on the pop music front

Seems Freddy Mecury's piano is sale. A lovely looking upright.

photo and details found here.

Anton Kuerti: Political commentary

Pianit Kuerti serves up some political commentary at the University of Western Ontario.


...delivering a wide-ranging speech on the uses and abuses of confidence, Kuerti talked of the ability to command the piano, the fearlessness of Mohawk steelworkers and the dangers of over- confidence in foreign affairs -- including the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

A Rare Print of Beethoven found?

Details here.

A little west of Moscow

You'll find the "International Russian Music Piano Competition", another spot on the competition circuit I had noticed before, tucked away in "Silicon Valley".

You can read all about it here.

General musing: Competitions. Not just for fun. It's a full-time job (sans pay) for some.

And on the popular music front

a very different video of rocker Tommy Lee has appeared on the net
MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee playing the song "Brandon" on the piano in the lobby of his hotel in Brussels, Belgium following the band's performance at Ancienne Belgique on June 8, 2007 has been posted at YouTube.


Dog Days of Summer

Still on Vacation. Blogging still continues to be light.

Get your bloggy-fix by visiting the WTB's "Blogs of Distinction" (RH column).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Double Shots of Walt Whitman

Blogilicious bookends

here and here.

Holy Cow! Now You Can Own a bit of Beethoven

Beethoven's hair, or at least some of it, is now for sale on ebay.

Link here.

Thanks to "Soho the Dog" for pointing the way.

Cliburn 2007: And the Winners Are !

Mad props and kudos to the winners of this year's "Van Cliburn 2007 Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs".

1st Prize: Dr. Drew Mays, Alabama, Ophthalmologist

2nd Prize: Mr. Mark Fuller, Arizona, Lawyer

3rd Prize: Mr. Clark Griffith, Texas, Composer/Retired Internet Technology Administrator

Audience Award: Dr. Drew Mays, Alabama, Ophthalmologist

Press Jury Award: Mr. Mark Fuller, Arizona, Lawyer

You can watch performances on the uber-hip YouTube here.

Good stuff all around!

Friday, May 25, 2007

vacation note

extended travel and little internet access. So blogging will continue to be light to nil.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Piano as Furniture

This tidbit was interesting

"About 40 percent of Steinways are purchased with disc player systems already installed, Olson says."

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Classical Brit Awards

I got nothing after this.


Other Great Moments in Boston Pops History

What did long time Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler think about disco? Ponder no more.

"From the moment I conducted the “Saturday Night Fiedler” suite on television in May, I knew the youngsters had done it again: disco–a marvelous, insistently rhythmic dance form to which all manner of music can be adapted from Bach to the Bee Gees. And this span of musical poles truly accents the universality of music"

more on the Pops' disco album found here. Be sure to have listen to "A Night on Disco Mountain".

John Lill: Starving Classical Music

"John Lill attacked the government for “systematically destroying” classical music.
Mr Lill, 63, who lives in South End Green and was awarded a CBE two years ago, said: “Orchestras and musical societies are being starved out of existence when the government is spending any amount of money on sport and pop. Once it’s gone it won’t come back.”"

Read the rest here.

when James Brown Met Pavarotti

Who knew..?

Video of said event here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

John Cage Has a Secret

When teevee was great....

WFMU has up a nice clip of Cage's 1960 appearance on the game show "I've Got A Secret".
He performs "Water Walk" (the "instruments" include a bath tub, several radios, a grand piano, blender, rubber duck, mechanical fish, and more). Check it out !


Got Big Ears?

Check out this website which delivers online ear training.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The sound of now

Mad props are due saxophonist Brian Sacawa, and to Devin Hurd for the write-up.

Full scoop is here.

Looking forward to that Cd.

Growing Pains Part 2

This is too funny. Too true? Check it out at Soho the Dog's blog

Winter in Brazil

Why not? There plenty at the Campos do Jordão International Winter Festival which is billed as the "largest classical music festival in Latin America."

Check it out here

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 and Classical Music

Move over iTunes, here comes

"Amazon has cut a deal with the Universal Music Group to sell that distributor's classical music collection in unprotected MP3 format, according to published reports."

More here

Growing Pains in NY?


The New York Philharmonic, hunting for a successor to its music director, Lorin Maazel , has decided to divide up its leadership by adding the new position of principal conductor, orchestra officials said yesterday.

In a meeting with the musicians, the Philharmonic’s president, Zarin Mehta, said the orchestra would create other new positions, including composer in residence; director for a mini-festival; and artist in residence, probably a soloist.

More here.


The Cleveland International Piano Competition has announced the names of this July's competitors. Details here.


A running list of piano jokes. Some funny... Some.. well... .. amusing. Know a good one? Leave it in the comments.

Q: What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A: A flat minor.

Q: What do you get if you run over an army officer with a steam roller?
A: A flat major.

Q: What do you say to an army officer as you're about to run him or her over with a steam roller?
A: Be flat, major.

Q: What do you say after you run an army officer over with a steam roller?
A: See flat major.

Q: What key is "Exploring The Cave With No Flashlight" written in?
A: C sharp or B flat.

Q: What do you get when an army officer puts his nose to the grindstone?
A: A sharp major.

Q: What do you get if you enroll in a liberal arts program and the only subject you do well in is music?
A: A natural major.

Q: What do you use to tie saplings to a piano so the saplings won't blow away?
A: Root position cords.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby Got Back - Gilbert and Sullivan Style

Brilliant fun!

Truly Modern Piano?

Check it out

"...The piano case houses two Pioneer DVJ-X1 DVD players, three Marshall LCD monitors and an Edirol V-4 video mxer in place of normal piano keys."

But that's not all ! The best part

"The piano can then be further pimped out in true gangsta fashion with hydraulic legs and top, custom paint jobs and fog or laser spewers."

Read more here

Loads more info and photos here

Piano makers take note.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

U.K.'s Favorite Classical Works

And it's official !

Ralph Vaughan Williams "The Lark Ascending" takes the top spot.

2nd Elgar's Cello Concerto
3rd Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto

Most popular opera? Surprisingly, Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers"

Details here.

The Other Keyboard

Today's fun link is The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

The group describes itself as " a collective endeavor which engages in rhythmic typewriter manipulation combined with elements of performance, comedy and satire."

Follow the link for pictures, audio samples, and more.

It is a keyboard! You gotta give me that :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Other Meme

1. Name an opera you love for the libretto, even though you don't particularly like the music.

The Mother of Us All

2. Name a piece you wish Glenn Gould had played.

Any of the piano sonatas by Roger Sessions

3. If you had to choose: Charles Ives or Carl Ruggles

Carl Ruggles

4. Name a piece you're glad Glenn Gould never played.

The Schubert Sonata in B flat D 960

5. What's your favorite unlikely solo passage in the repertoire?

Not sure unlikely is the word, but I’d go with the tuba in Shostakovich 13

6. What's a Euro-trash high-concept opera production you'd love to see? (No Mortier-haters get to duck this one, either—be creative)

Not a one

7. Name an instance of non-standard concert dress you wish you hadn't seen.

Bathing suits

8. What aging rock-and-roll star do you wish had tried composing large-scale chorus and orchestra works instead of Paul McCartney?

Brian Wilson

9. If you had to choose: Carl Nielsen or Jean Sibelius?

Sibelius. Is this serious?

10. If it was scientifically proven that Beethoven's 9th Symphony caused irreversible brain damage, would you still listen to it?


Who'd Have Thought

Piano smugglers.

" The smugglers are suspected of being instrumental in making tens of millions of yuan selling the contraband, giving the illegal ivory trade a whole new meaning."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bell, Violin, Subway

For all the chatter in the classical music blogosphere about the "experiment" involving Joshua Bell playing at the DC Metro during morning rush, I think it's a non-"classical music" blog that get its absolutely right.

Kevin Drum who blogs for the Washington Monthly says,

"I'm sorry, but this is just idiotic. No one recognized Bell because even famous violinists don't have famous faces. No one cared much about his music because probably no more than five people out of a hundred enjoy classical music at all — and fewer still recognize the difficult pieces he decided to play. What's more, I'd be surprised if as many as one out of a hundred can tell a good violinist from a great one even in good conditions. And despite the claim that the acoustics of the L'Enfant Plaza station were "surprisingly kind," I'm sure they were nothing of the sort.

Plus, of course, IT WAS A METRO STATION. People needed to get to work on time so their bosses wouldn't yell at them. Weingarten mentions this, with appropriately high-toned references to Kant and Hume, but somehow seems to think that, in the end, this really shouldn't matter much. There should have been throngs of culture lovers surrounding Bell anyway. It's as if he normally lives on Mars and dropped by Earth for a few minutes to do some research for a sixth-grade anthropology project

this article was so willfully clueless and hectoring (though in a sad, gentle way, natch) that it set my teeth on edge

True. And sad.

It is a rather strange article. Take this

"We'll go with Kant, because he's obviously right, and because he brings us pretty directly to Joshua Bell, sitting there in a hotel restaurant, picking at his breakfast, wryly trying to figure out what the hell had just happened back there at the Metro"

I like Kant as much as the next nerd, but "Obviously right"?

"He [Kant] took beauty seriously: In his Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, Kant argued that one's ability to appreciate beauty is related to one's ability to make moral judgments. But there was a caveat. Paul Guyer of the University of Pennsylvania, one of America's most prominent Kantian scholars, says the 18th-century German philosopher felt that to properly appreciate beauty, the viewing conditions must be optimal."

Huh? I'll leave aside a reading of Kant's "Analytic of the Beautiful" for another day.

Oh. Snap.

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Other times it just leaves you speechless.

My heart breaks just looking at the pictures.

In a scene that could have come straight from the 1932 Laurel and Hardy classic The Music Box, the 9ft 6in long Bosendorfer slipped from the clutches of three removal men, rolled off the back of their lorry and plunged 14ft down an embankment.
If you have the stomach for it, read the rest and see the photos here.

Larger photo here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Music in the post-copyright era

EMI drops DRM, then Microsoft (in an about-face) decides it will sell DRM-free music online.

Now comes news that "Bruce Lehman, an original architect of what became the DMCA, is basically admitting that the law has been a failure and hasn't worked out at all as planned."

Of course, he doesn't blame himself for being wrong. He blames the recording industry execs (who certainly do seem to deserve some of the blame). He notes that they never understood the digital world, and had no idea about new distribution technologies. He believes that if they had embraced going digital much earlier, then the DMCA wouldn't be such a disaster.
Read the rest here

The Other Elton

Forget Elton John.

Meet Elton Dog. The canine world's answer to Glenn Gould.

Music. Video. Fan mail. You find it all here

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Meme That Wouldn't Die

Just in case you hadn't heard: "The only dispute about classical recording is whether it is dying or dead. " (Link)

From the same piece there's this:

"Twenty years ago, the giant companies that dominated the classical recording industry were turning out about 700 releases a year. Today, just two are in the business. Production is down to about 100 new discs a year - many in the crossover repertoire that purists would not accept as "classical" at all - and falling."

Alex Ross delivers a badly corrective reality check. Take home point: "The major labels are much smaller than they used to be. But classical recording is bigger than ever." Link

and via the inimitable blog "On An Overgrown Path" comes news of a possible new label from Ireland. "The Contemporary Music Centre is commissioning a report on the feasibility of setting up an Irish recording label and/or download platform for specialist/non-commercial musics." Link

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lang Lang

Call it hubris, call it the indiscretion of youth, but the pianist's concert the following summer at Ravinia was a disaster, so full of taffy-pull tempos and outrageous interpretative distortions as to constitute vandalism. It took several seasons but slowly, surely, Lang's playing improved. The turning point, for me, was his bracing account of Bartok's Second Piano Concerto with the CSO early in 2005. Not only did he show new musical maturity, but he went easier on the swooning facial expressions and other distracting platform choreography.

More here.

I've never liked Lang Lang's spectacle driven piano playing. So maybe there's hope. But I'm not holding my breath.


Paul Resnikoff on the news that EMI is dumping DRM:

"Ditching DRM is an important move, but ignoring the important role that pricing and simplicity play will probably make this development irrelevant to most consumers. Sure, freedom is great, but more complicated experiences and higher price tags represent a step in the wrong direction." (empahsis mine)

You think?

Bill Evans and Horowitz

Nice to come across this piece on one of my all time favorite pianists. And timely since I've been playing at "Emily" for past few days.

"Bill Evans, on the other hand, resembles in his posture and positioning a Vladimir Horowitz, the Russian-born performer more acclaimed than any other in my lifetime for his pianism. I retain a vivid memory of a televised concert of Horowitz, sitting low, his face close to the keyboard, the weight from his arms and long fingers sufficient of themselves to allow negotiation of notoriously difficult passages—not only with consummate ease but with definitive, clarion tones consistent through each note of a sequence demanding identical pressure from each finger of both hands."

read the rest here.

Hatto and the Bay City Rollers

Satire that makes you go "Oh, my!"

Here is proof that Hatto claimed copyright of lyrics to monster hits like 'Bye Bye Baby', 'Give a Little Love' and the US number one hit single 'Saturday Night'.

"Arista also paid her for being the band's drummer, lead guitar, saxophonist, lead vocals, backing vocals and double bass."

More here

Cage and Cunningham

It's today's must read link.

184 Hours

No not a hitherto unknown work by John Cage. It's the World's longest concert ever. In Japan.

Japanese musicians overcame fatigue and a major earthquake to set the record for the world's longest concert on Saturday, playing 184 hours non-stop in a program that ranged from The Beatles' classics to Japanese traditional harp music. Over 900 musicians aged 6 to 89 took turns performing in the 9-day marathon--with breaks of no more than 5 minutes between acts--at a small railway station in Hikone city, western Japan, according to organizer Kuniko Teramura, 51.


Denis Matsuev: The New Horowitz?

Maybe something along the lines of Cziffra, eh?

Anyhow, this seems to fit in with the previous posts on classical music in Venezuela.

"While he is confident that the Russian tradition of rigorous music training is alive and well, he is less sure that the world prizes classical musicians. Gifted with elastic hands and a great memory, and aware that "crossover" is among the hottest words in the music business, he embraces jazz. A good friend, he often invites less well-known talents to share his stage. It is a quest for relevance and recognition that idols like Vladimir Horowitz, Emil Gilels or Sviatoslav Richter did not face."

Read the rest

Visit Matsuev's webpage here

There are mp3's of his playing here (check out the "Danse Russe" from Petrushka. Very nice).

Lennon's Piano Goes on Tour

Details here.

But it's really the title of the piece that's the kicker.

tasty high jinx in the conservatory

Of your imagination.

Find it all here.

A big note of thanks to "Oboe Insight" for the link.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Saturday in Canada

Mark your calendars and do some good.

Details here.

mas vale tarde que nunca

Back in June of 2005 I posted up a link on the classical music program in Venezuela.

And, lo, some recent coverage for the program appears of recent in the Atlanta Constitution (Beethoven in the Barrios). Jim Palermo of the "Chicago Classical Music" blog writes

"As the debate ranges on about why African American and Latino populations in the US aren’t better represented in our orchestras, and after having read about Venezuela’s flourishing “sistema,” I wonder, can you make any assumptions or correlations?"

Any takers?

An excellent post on the topic from the inimitable blog "On An Overgrown Path" is well-worth revisiting. You'll find it here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Delos Record Label Founder Dies

"Amelia S. Haygood, a former psychologist whose passion for classical music propelled her to found the independent record label Delos in the '70s and become a leader in digital recording, has died. She was 87."


and this

"The Los Angeles-based label, once called Delos Records and now named Delos International, became the first independent classical label to issue its own CDs in the United States, said Carol Rosenberger, Delos' vice president for artists and repertory, and also a violinist"

Curious. I seem to recall that Rosenberger is actually a very fine pianist. Must be my mind going.

Teaching the World to Play Piano

More "YouTube" goodness

"Ajero has six piano podcasts available at http:/// and plans to put more up at the end of the semester. He hopes that through the lessons, more will see how great the music program is at SFA and get a passion for music themselves."
Read the rest here

YouTube link

Blog link

This Is Your Brain on Mussorgsky

"...Mazzola's free jazz improvisation of over a motif of Modes Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" was accompanied by our live visuals interpretation. Instead of music analysis we used an EEG (Electrocncephalogram) to measure Mazzola's brain waves in real-time, and motion sensor for a gestural mapping. The data was applied for spatial distribution and movement of geometric shapes, and for different color modulations."

Catch a video of this fascinating project here.

The Sonata of War and Peace

"Begley, who began studying piano at age 6, says the hangar has the best acoustics. He also plays the borrowed organ in the base chapel. Begley said the deaths of fellow soldiers serving under the 10th Mountain Division shook him deeply during his year in Afghanistan and that's reflected in the music. It's fair to describe the composition as "dark," he says. That reflects the conflicting nature of its inspirations — hopes for peace versus the need to tackle threats to peace such as terrorism. "

Read the rest here

The Page Turner

"Dercourt himself is a viola chamber music professor. Dercourt captures the bizarre conservatory ambiance perfectly - all white walls, open light and slightly off-tune stand-up pianos to practice on. Everything else - that is, related to characters or plot - is stupid but funny, making "The Page Turner" unintentional camp for the NPR set.


Oops I made a Fugue

"B+" for effort

Do Your Own Adventure

Bowl me over and paint me thrilled. This is why I love YouTube.

Grandma mashes it up !

Thanks monkeys!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Murray Grand, Dead at 87

"During his heyday, Mr. Grand played at such night spots as Upstairs at the Downstairs, the Village Green, and the Fireside Inn. He also composed tunes for a number of revues, including Broadway's Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952 and New Faces of 1956. For the latter, he wrote "Hurry," "April in Fairbanks" and "Rouge." The last two were introduced by Jane Connell."

Monday, March 26, 2007




The Digital Bosendorfer


"Austrian piano-maker Boesendorfer entered the compact digital keyboard market Monday, unveiling its first prototype model in an attempt to access new markets. The CEUSmaster sounds and plays like Boesendorfer's Imperial grand piano, company manager Alfred Zellinger said at the Vienna unveiling. It was a further development of Boesendorfer's CEUS computer piano launched in 2005. What made CEUSmaster so unique was that it used genuine grand piano action, Zellinger said - a major advantage that gave a true feeling of playing on a grand piano."

Details and photos from the Bosendorfer website are here

Two Pianos and YouTube

Check out the excellent YouTube clip on the Dranoff Foundations' website on two piano music and the Dranoff competition. Nice job ! Find it here

Little Blogs Made of Ticky Tacky

Old Norman Lebrecht:

"Classical blogs are spreading but their nutritional value is lower than a bag of crisps. Unlike financial blogs, which yield powerful and profitable secrets, classical web-chat is opinion-rich and info-poor. Until bloggers deliver hard facts and estate agents turn into credible critics, paid-for newspapers will continue to set the standard as only show in town."

New Norman Lebrecht:

"I see esteemed colleagues taking to the blogosphere like birds to worms and some of the amateurs out there stealing our thunder by reporting events and conveying opinion on their blogs faster and more furiously than we do in print."

That was fast!

Kudos to "On An Overgrown Path" for the nice catch.

Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds

It's A Monday

Time to make the blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mozart: The Video Game

Micro Application has announced what they describe as "the first historical and musical game", titled Mozart. For the first time, you can step in the role as the legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Emperor's protégé, who has travelled to Prague in order to solve his money problems.
Don't think for a moment I won't want to check this game out.

More information here


Welcome back !

Shaggy Blog Stories

The inimitable and must read "Mad Musings of Me" blog has the low down.

Click on over
and give 'em some blog love.

Look Who Wants Your Business

"So what store wants customers who can differentiate among Beethoven’s symphonies (other than the Fifth)? Perhaps not surprisingly, Amazon does. The Internet’s catch-all merchant last week opened a classical music discount store — a move, analysts said, that could benefit the company handsomely, since classical fans actually buy, rather than steal, their music."
Interesting play by, but there's loads of great places (for pay and free) elsewhere on the net. The more interesting line comes near the end of the piece. Interesting because of what it suggests in the way of possibilities for other musicians/arts groups/specialized labels.

Specifically, he said, Web sites could evolve with on-demand manufacturing capabilities.

“It makes much more sense to store all the music digitally and manufacture it at the point of order than keeping it all in inventory,” Mr. Underhill said. “You could also print whatever supporting material you want, and not be limited by the liner notes of the traditional LP or CD.”

Read the rest here.

The amazing career of Yundi Li

Very nice piece on China's greatest pianist.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

how to make a steinway

Drool worthy photos and essay ahoy.


The Sounds of Genius

Ah those lucky Canadians.

This year, on the 75th anniversary of his birth, Gould's remarkable story will be told in a major exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in partnership with Library and Archives Canada.

Glenn Gould: The Sounds of Genius will trace his development from child prodigy to international concert star to recording and media artist pioneer. Along the way, it will recall his surprising departure from the concert scene, and examine the personal charisma and idiosyncrasies that helped make him a cultural icon.

More here.

I see a road trip in my future !

Are all British composers 2nd rate?

"He's right in that we've had a handful of worthwhile composers, but never anybody to touch the top-notch greats (I still think Elgar's concertos are top-notch, but I take his point). The question is: if Elgar's mediocre but the best we have (King doesn't appear to mention Britten, let alone Orlando Gibbons), why should that be?"
Follow the link to Jessica's blog for more...

finding chopin's piano

Frédéric Chopin made on the piano at the height of his powers. Now they have a chance to do exactly that, after the discovery of the composer’s own grand piano, which he brought to England in 1848 for the last great concert tour of his life.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

in search of sound

I've spent way too much time today poking around the "FindSounds" website. Time to share it with others.

Find sounds is a search engine that locates sounds (sound files) on the Internet. It provide you with the sounds of just about everything... Musical instruments and more.

Here's the main site

And here's a list of examples...

beethoven in morse code

Strangely pleasing.


glob opera

Verdi's Traviata performed by strange globs.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

[counter] stream

if you haven't visited it yet, check out "Counterstream Radio"

"Counterstream Radio is your online home for exploring the music of America's composers. The only principle that defines the music we broadcast is that it's never about following the rules: This is music created without regard for anyone who says, "You can't do that!""
Give 'em some blog love, click on over.

Enjoy online radio while you can.

Internet radio companies big and small are revving up for a fight with the Copyright Royalty Board that could lead to the halls of Congress and -- some fear -- the end of streaming music stations in the United States.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Haiku Remix

Remembrance of Things Past
Marcel Proust

Tea-soaked madeleine –
a childhood recalled. I had
brownies like that once

From this witty and recommended book of haiku .

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bathroom Divas

If you haven't been following pianist/blogger Chris Foley's posts on the remarkable "Bathrooom Diva" doings, you are missing out big time. Most recent tasty bit is this post.

Check it out folks.


Yuja Wang Redux

I'm telling you folks. Keep your eyes and ears open for this mega-talent.

She cuts a very diminutive figure, but last night, wearing a bright pink dress, she tackled Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto with impressive virtuosity and poise. Her playing overall was musical without being mannered, her phrasing lithe, and her articulation exceptionally clean across the acres of rapid passagework. She found some unusual colors in the first-movement cadenza and one can imagine her interpretative voice growing more distinctive with time. Her sound was large enough to be heard above the orchestra without appearing strident. In fact, her temperament seemed rather Apollonian for this very Dionysian work, but she had no trouble drawing in the audience, which was on its feet cheering immediately after the final chord.

read the rest here.

America's Greatest Pianist

Louis Moreau Gottschalk

It's today's web pick!!

Move Over Lang Lang

Holy !

If you haven't seen this video/post yet, you're missing something.

Look out Lang Lang! There's a new virtuoso in town.

Say it Right

Feel inferior no more.

A gem from a by-gone era that's as relevant to classical snobbery as ever. What be it? An album that teaches you how to pronounce the names of the great composers, performers, and musical terms.

Listen here (mp3 formate) for the oh-so correct pronunciation of pianists names.

Harpsichordists check in here.

Check out WFMU for the whole shabang. Talkin' the talk pro made easier.

Mega smiles all around.

I want to know more

Good Things in Small Packages

The toy piano.

It's not just for kids. amazing music and ideas percolate therein

Check out the "Toy Piano Forum". exists to promote the toy piano as a musical instrument. anyone may ask questions or post content about toy pianos here.
I've recently added it to the WTB list of piano related links. There are many treasures (audio and visual, and epistemological to be discovered there). Among the spots that I discovered is that of composer/pianist Chris Skebo. Musics of various kinds: piano, electronic keyboard, flute, voice, and sax (hello! brian sacawa who by the way has a rockin' new blog that you need to visit.

Visit all three. Make you're weekend bright.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bargain Shopping

If only I could find great deals on eBay

Neal Peres Da Costa, an Australian music professor and harpsichordist, couldn't believe his luck when he saw an 1878 Streicher and Sohn grand piano advertised on eBay for less than (U.S.)$4,000.
Read the rest here.