Tag Archives: Classical music

A defense against mediocrity

“And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach – a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity – on each page we discover things which we thought were born only … Continue reading

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Rhythmic Dictation

We walked into the sterile theory classroom at the start of the 2nd term in 3rd year music. It was 9:00 AM, probably on a foggy Monday morning. It was the beginning of atonal music theory. The professor was leaning against his desk, silent. … Continue reading

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The Joy of Music, Leonard Bernstein

My hiatus from blogging afforded me the time and mental focus to wander through some of the books on my Reading List. A joy to read was The Joy of Music by Leonard Bernstein. It’s been on my shelf for … Continue reading

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Chopin on Scarlatti: “He sometimes reaches even Mozart.”

“My colleagues, the piano teachers, are dissatisfied that I am teaching Scarlatti to my pupils. But I am surprised that they are so blind. In his music there are exercises in plenty for the fingers and a good deal of … Continue reading

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“You think about the music … how lucky you are to be performing it”

There was an amusing interview with pianist Mitsuko Uchida in The Guardian last month. I happily discovered I share a couple of non-piano passions with her – the Tour de France and sudoku (“It keeps your mind alert but with … Continue reading

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“One note follows another with complete inevitability”

Leonard Bernstein plays through – on piano and with an orchestra – some fragments and sketches that Beethoven rejected when composing his Fifth Symphony. It’s a fascinating look at what might have been. Or might not have been. And it … Continue reading

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Composers refuse to be bound by rules

“Some people will perhaps wonder why I have undertaken to write about music, there being so many works by outstanding men who have treated the subject most thoroughly and learnedly; and more especially, why I should be doing so just … Continue reading

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A balance for soul. A balance for beauty.

“People are craving this great progress in electronics, going after computers, the Internet, etc. It’s a great progress technologically. But they must have a balance for soul, a balance for human beauty. That means art has an important role.” ~Mstislav … Continue reading

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Play until your fingers bleed

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head.  Even when no one … Continue reading

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Beethoven. Pushing us beyond our limits.

Beethoven gave us some fast – sometimes obscenely fast – metronome markings. These speeds have been debated for almost 200 years already. What was he thinking? Was his metronome faulty? Were there clerical errors at the publishing house? He was … Continue reading

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Intensely interior music

My own experience of the Bach’s Goldberg Variations is Glenn Gould’s 1981 recording. My interpretation is Gould’s. Such is the power of the first hearing of a piece of music. I’m not alone in this. Nor am I alone in … Continue reading

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Sublime. Spectacular. And heartwarming.

Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. It doesn’t get better. Jon Kimura Parker is here in a short (under 6 minutes) video – a concerto chat – that touches on all three movements. Watch to the end for a heartwarming story. Click here … Continue reading

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