Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Birthday Card

Have some cake and celebrate "La Idea del Norte" turning 3 years old. What's that in "Internet Years"?


Zimerman 2.0

check out Jessica's post with K. Zimerman.


Gadgety. Nerdy. Possibly Lame.

Prepare to get your nerd-on:
"Files are stored onto the piano's hard drive and can be transferred via USB to a PC, and then easily burned onto a CD for in-car listening. Plus, if you hook up the piano to a TV, you can display lyrics and graphics for a song on it."
Yup, it's Yamaha made. Read the rest here.

I don't know about you, but once you get to this level of geeking out, I think I'd rather have a decent midi controller, a "real" computer, and some solid piano samples. Seriously.

Elton John's Grand Piano

Forget about break my heart. The upcoming sale of Elton John's piano is like is likely to break the piggy bank.

The Grand Piano on which Elton John rehearsed his chart topping duet with Kiki Dee "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" goes on sale next month with a price tag of up to 45,000 pound.


Juilliard Dropout Plays Skid Row, Battles Schizophrenia: The Book

This looks to be a very good read.

"The violinist was Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a black man ``with butterscotch eyes,'' a diagnosis of schizophrenia and such a passion for Ludwig von Beethoven that he often played in a spot just across the street from Pershing Square in Los Angeles to be near a 7-foot bronze statue of his idol. "
Read the full review here.

Krystian Zimerman

An encore playing superstar who ought to leave Glenn Gould to Glen Gould.

Zimerman is famous for modifying his instrument to his own specifications, but it’s not every day you see a Steinway transformed in front of your very eyes...But the rationale behind the emaciated Glenn Gould-like tone of his Bach keyboard was questionable....why reduce your vehicle to a hard-edged, pseudo-period instrument and then romanticise the music out of recognition?
Good question.


Fire Blamed on Welding

A fire that tore through the roof of the Berlin Philharmonic's landmark concert hall was sparked by welding work, investigators said Monday.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Glenn Gould is everywhere

Has any pianist ever loomed so large some 25 years after his death? Gould would have turned 75 last September, and the anniversaries have led his foundation to declare 2007-08 "The Year of Glenn Gould." But the designation is almost redundant.
Read the rest here.

No Winner at Washington International Competition for Piano

"First prize: none awarded. Second prize: Gulyak. Third prize: none awarded. Audience prize: Wayne Weng."

Details and more on the finalists found here.

William Kappell

William Kappell is gone, but hardly forgotten. Case in point. This new CD set of his Australian broadcasts.

"This is and will remain a problematic set for collectors--but have no doubts, they will buy it; and because they spent a goodly sum on an artist they adore, they will listen to it often, in spite of the sonic defects that make some moments almost unbearable." Link.

Liszt and the Beethoven Symphonies

A guide to the various recordings available of Liszt's transcriptions.

"..the pianist was brought up short on the choral finale of the famous Ninth Symphony. In a fit of frustration, Liszt observed that he may have to accept, "...the impossibility of making any pianoforte arrangement of the 4th movement...that could in any way be...satisfactory."


best of the lot I think is Liszt's handling of no6

Accompanist's accompanist

I got glimpse of this article today
Malcom Martineau has returned as musician-in-residence for the Accompanists' Guild of South Australia's 25th anniversary conference, which runs until June 1.
And that lead to a pleasant discovery of this website: The Accompanists' Guild. Check it out.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

pretty in pink


Big kudos to "the collaborative piano blog" for pointing the way.

Deets here.

crank it up

One obvious difference between rock and classical concerts is amplification. The average rock concert's volume has been measured at 120 decibels, and more and more rock music is at similar levels of amplification.

not at my recital. Deets here.

new poll

a new "Well Tempered Blog" poll is up and I'm surprised, in a way, that Steinway is in the lead. Come on all you bosie fans.

Enter the Octagon

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. If only it were more like the UFC (yea I'm hooked on it).

Eight celebrities, including David Soul and Bradley Walsh, will compete to enter the conductor's podium at the Proms in a new BBC series.

The show will train the celebrities in orchestral, choral and operatic music and the winner will conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra at the BBC Proms in the Park.

Musician Goldie, former Blur bassist Alex James, newsreader Katie Derham, actress Jane Asher, broadcaster Peter Snow and comedian Sue Perkins are taking part in Maestro, on BBC2, alongside ex-Starsky and Hutch star Soul and former Coronation Street actor Walsh.

read the rest here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old-time Piano Playing Contest

The "The 34th Annual World Championship Old-time Piano Playing Contest" is underway. Details and videos found here.

Meme: Meme

While out and about my blog was tagged by HurdAudio with this meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you

So here it is:

I sighed. "It's for a date," I confessed, leaning ever so slightly forward. "My first."

from The Long Good Boy by Carol Lea Benjamin

I now officially pass this meme to Tenon Saw, Oboeinsight, The Collaborative Piano Blog, Paris-Broadway, Jessica Duchen.

(tap tap no erasies!!)

Back from Vacation

A long flight. A crying baby. Feels good to be "home" again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Ivory State: Texas

Piano Texas gets underway this week, and you can find a fine write-up of this world-class piano fest here here.

Chopin. A Tad Too Weepy?

The BBC Radio 3 unleashes a weekend full of Chopin. Visit the site for it here. Loads of good stuff on the site for the ear and eye.

While listening to Chopin you might ponder a fine piece on recent trends in Chopin recordings/performances appearing on the excellent TimesOnline. Link. They also have audio/clips and a poll in which you can vote for your favorite interpreter of Chopin's music. Link. Of the votes cast thus far, Cortot is clearly the winner. And, surprisingly, Murray Perahia is at a distant 2nd. I don't particularly fancy Perahia's Chopin. My own favorite is Rubinstein. And, yes, I do love the Cortot but there is something about Rubinstein that edges him out of the way for me.

And here's the key graf of so from the article:
"..The preferred modern tactic now is to fight off overexaggeration and match Chopin’s romantic agony with the classical poise of a composer in love with Bach, Mozart, inner harmonies and the clear dance of polyphony – an element certainly strong in Chopin’s make-up. “A good balance between his romantic soul and his classical expression is one of the most difficult things to achieve,” says the wise Ingrid Fliter, soloist in EMI’s most recent Chopin disc.

Stephen Hough now spies a new danger: interpretations so desperate to avoid tears that pianists opt for a steely sound quite unlike what Chopin wanted or knew. Glenn Gould, if he gave himself a proper chance, would no doubt have pulled Chopin in that direction."

Who is your favorite Chopin performer? And do you think pianists are moving toward a more clinical, if you like, approach.

cliburn update

voting ends tonight for the Cliburn YouTube competition.

Check it out here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Dark Side of Chopin

A little different perspective on Chopin.

"Chopin was a political arch-conservative, an artistic and social snob, and a dandy who hated contact with the rest of the human race."



While your waiting for more bloggy goodness from WTB, check out the Van Cliburn Foundations YouTube competition. You can find it here. Loads of good piano playing.


Enjoying some vacation time. So blogging will continue be on the light side. In the meantime, visit the WTB "Blogs of Distinction".