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"


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.