Wednesday, October 06, 2010

chopin competition

Eighty-one pianists from 23 countries are competing for honours from Thursday at the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition marking the bicentennial of the composer's birth.

The Reuters lead article is: "Asians flock to Poland for Chopin piano festival"

Deets.


Play Piano, Go to Jail

That's the news from Grand Rapids Michigan. A man being sought by police was found: seated at a piano in front of the police station reportedly playing the same note over and over for hours (in other accounts its reported he was playing "chopsticks") -- apparently the piano had been setup there as part of the "ArtPrize" week's installation of those "piano-about-town-play-me" horrors that have been popping up like a pox across America.   Link

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rocky III - Leif Ove Andsnes in the Ring

Leif Ove Andsnes' recording of the Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto garners well-deserved praise. Along with it, and more interesting in some respects, is the 4th piano concerto. 

This is a fantastic recording in both technical and musical respects. In a world choked with so many recordings of it - and it's a work frankly that I've grown weary listening to-- Andsnes still finds way to breath a bit of new life into this tired mainstay of piano competitions:

He is a judicious pianist and a sensitive one. He knows that there is no need to exaggerate Rachmaninov’s music, and indeed that there is every reason not to. 
 Read more here.

Another, and one that gives Horowitz' famed recordings a good run, was made by Santiago Rodriguez for the Elan label. It's well worth adding to your collection. 



The Sherlock On Tour

Fans of A.C. Doyle's master sleuth Sherlock Holmes will appreciate this tidbit from the news:

Called the Sherlock, it was carved from the wood of a diseased tree from the garden of a cottage in Edinburgh where the writer spent part of his childhood...The instrument was made as a tribute to Conan Doyle's creation, Sherlock Holmes, who played the violin while solving cases.

Those unable to make on the concerts can still heard in a BBC Radio Scotland's Music Cafe broadcast.


Details here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Glenn Gould on Bach

Kudos to "cultural offering" for pointing the way to this clip of Glenn Gould discussing the merits of Bach performed on the modern piano.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On The Road

Travel time. Barcelona was a fantastic break. Off to Paris tomorrow. Photos and all that to follow.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Out and Around Blogsville

Recent addition to the WTB list of "Blogs of Distinction" and all around click-worthy bloggy goodness:  Tales of a Tenor.  Point. Click. Bookmark.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Lady Loves Opera

and you know... after weeks of jury recitals I can really relate

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today's Web Destination

Today's "must click" web destination is "Music et Memoria" which explores many of the lesser known highways and by-ways of music history -- especially interesting are the sections of the prix de rome, the masterclass gallery,  and more. Give it a visit.

Music et Memoria

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hot Wheels

Need a ride to your next gig?

Happy Birthday Sondheim

Composer Sondheim turns 80 on the 22nd of this month and the parties are a foot:

"Sondheim’s birthday isn’t until March 22, but no matter. Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Donna Murphy, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald and especially Elaine Stritch — the youngest 85-year-old performer in town — started the festivities early.

Read more here.

bronze fingers

A monument for a monumental talent.

"The Oscar Peterson statue will be unveiled June 30 just outside the National Arts Centre, steps from Parliament Hill and the Canadian War Memorial, as part of Canada Day celebration"
Read the rest

Happy Organ

Give it a listen. It'll keep you smiling for days. (Watch closely for the poodly sitting on the bench with Cherry).

Friday, March 05, 2010

Piano at the Mayo

check out this clip from YouTube. It's bound to put a smile on your face. While the performers are old-school lo-tech sort of folks, they are a big hit on the Tube.
"Told that it means that a video of them playing a piano duet in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic has been watched more than 6.6 million times, Marlow Cowan replied: "Wow! People must not have much to do." It all started when Marlow, 91, went to the Mayo Clinic for a physical. He and Frances, 85, spotted a piano in the atrium with a sign inviting people to play it. So the did."

Listen to Her Piano: Pop matter

I disagree. If she were listening, she'd hear it telling she needs to practice. I am mystified by the "Alicia Keys-is-a-great-pianist" thing. She's not so much a pianist as she is a piano player, and not a great one at that.

"Midway through her 100-minute performance Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena, the side of Keys’ piano illuminated to display an electronic scrolling message that read, “Play me.” Keys looked at the text and said, “This is a very demanding piano. It tells me what to do.


Oh the irony! LInk

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Chopin, The Mazurka, and Greatness

A fine write-up with pianist/composer Rob Kapilow on the magic that is Chopin's music over on the NPR website and an audio clip of the Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4.
"His work forever changed what we even imagine as possible on the instrument, both technically and emotionally. It's one thing to say Chopin's great, but what makes him great?"

Read the rest here.

Most Unwanted Song. Ever.

This is a curious project: to create the most aesthetically unpleasing song. I am sort of surprised by earnestness they applied to the task. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding (or in this case in the hearing).

The song is twenty-two minutes and features instruments like bagpipes, tubas and the banjo, with political slogans, advertising jingles and cowboy lyrics. They manage to translate into orchestral rock-band church-music punctuated with high pitched sounds and abrupt changes in pace and mood

You can read more about it here and download a copy of the most unwanted song here.

Musical Staircase

Now this is my kind of staircase.... I imagine all kinds of fun with it.

In Sweden musical pads colored to look like piano keys were installed on a staircase. The point? To see if it would intice more people into actually taking the stairs than the escalator.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Gould at Work

A little music to kick start things around here

Rested and Ready

WTB returns from the beyond...

I appreciate the emails whle we were on hiatus and look forward to another year of blogging!