Sir Neville Marriner, the co-founder and long-time conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, has died at age 92. (NYT link) [more inside]
Whether you know the basic story or not, you may enjoy Mark Steel's lecture on Beethoven's life for its entertaining (and decidedly informal) presentation.
"What's in a Necronym?" by Jeannie Vanasco: "Whether the knowledge affected van Gogh—that he shared both his name and birthday with a dead sibling—remains unknown, the guide said. 'Does anyone have any questions?' he asked. My mind filled with loud, hurried thoughts and just as suddenly emptied, like a flock of birds scattering from a field." [more inside]
Carlos Kleiber conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Second movement. Third movement. Fourth movement. Christopher H. Gibbs of the Philadelphia Orchestra writes about the piece for NPR. Classical Notes discusses the piece in detail. [more inside]
Valentina Lisitsa is a classical pianist who credits her current fame to YouTube, where she has uploaded more than 200 videos of her performances. Were it not for the popularity of these videos (Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 - 7 million views; Beethoven "Für Elise" - 4 million; Liszt "La Campanella" - 3 million), she would be, in her own words, "totally dead" in "the age of child prodigies". Her newest work is not a thousand notes a minute as featured in some of her popular videos, but more minimal, as heard in "The Heart Asks Pleasure First," the first track from her album (Soundcloud snippet preview of all tracks) of music by minimalist composer Michael Nyman. [more inside]
A clever little examination on the replication of musical motifs.
Friday November 22, 1963, at the Boston Symphony Orchestra: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a press report over the wireless. We hope that it is unconfirmed, but we have to doubt it. That the president of the United States has been the victim of an assassination. We will play the funeral march from Beethoven’s Third Symphony."
Michelle L'amour performs "BUTTHOVEN'S 5TH SYMPHONY" [NSFW: WIGGLING B'THONGED BUTTS - LOL] [more inside]
Of the many available documentaries about the pianist Glenn Gould, "Genius within - The inner life of Glenn Gould" is one of the more thoughtful ones. [more inside]
Richter: The Enigma 1, 2. In Tours. At the Moscow Conservatory. At the Barbican 1, 2. Well-Tempered Clavier. Italian Concerto. Beethoven Sonatas. TL;DW: Richter plays Chopin
Glenn Gould on and off the record. The Russian Journey. Extasis. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The Goldberg Variations (1955), (1981). The Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven Sonatas. The Idea of North. TL;DW: Gould plays Bach
On March 26th, 1827 Ludwig Van Beethoven died in Vienna. The day after, a twelve year old boy took a lock of his hair as a souvenir. 167 years later the hair was sold at an auction in London. Its new owners were two Americans, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevera. Between those dates the lock of hair undertook an extraordinary historical odyssey. From hand to hand, from country to country, and from century to century. This is the story of that journey. [more inside]
Home-recorded piano cover goodness! Harder Better Faster Stronger - Note for note and Fur Elise Slightly Different. [more inside]
On the November 11, 1954 edition of the US educational program Omnibus, Leonard Bernstein presented what amounted to a 30-minute master class on one of the most familiar of all classical works, the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, to include reinserting some unused sketches. The results are, to put it mildly, interesting.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as a scrolling graphical score showing the contribution of each type of instrument. [slyt]
Artur Schnabel was the first pianist to record all of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas. He would not be the last. [more inside]
Part one: Beethoven - Piano sonata No. 27 in E minor, op. 90, Part two: Schubert - Piano sonata No. 7 in E minor, D.566, Part three: Piano sonata, Sz. 80. [more inside]
Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
Dancing under the gallows (SYLT) A trailer for an upcoming documentary traces the life of concert pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, the worlds oldest Holocaust survivor.
Scott Horton writes at harpers.org on most weekends posts about music and literature. Typically he'll post poems or philosophy (and often translate same from one of the many languages he's, apparently, fluent in) and link to youtube clips of music to complement the passages he writes about, along with images of classical paintings. Pretty neat. This weekend the clips are Glenn Gould playing Beethoven's Sonata No. 17, op. 31, no. 2 (1802)(the “Tempest”) tied to a passage by Hegel. And Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and its lyrics which were written by someone named Kuffner. Check it out.
Beethoven's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 9 in A, Op. 47 (audio) was originally dedicated to the black violin virtuoso George Bridgetower after he gave such a brilliant rendering of the piece that prompted Beethoven to jump from his seat and embrace him. Bridgetower was a musical child prodigy and composer who, despite rampant racial prejudice, reached "unusual heights in the music world of his day". Having lived and performed in major European cities such as London, Paris, and Vienna, he would later die forgotten and in poverty. A personal disagreement with Bridgetower led Beethoven to dedicate the sonata to the famous violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer instead who, incidentally, never played it in public deeming it “outrageously unintelligible”. [more inside]
An analysis of 376 recorded performances of Beethoven's Eroica (Symphony #3), broken down by such variables as the age of the conductor, length of the recording, and tempo variations. [more inside]
Argument to Beethoven's 5th [youtube 5:51], a brilliant sketch by 1950s funnyman Sid Caesar, shows that you don't need words to tell a story. [more inside]
The Big-Nosed Bastard from Barking has been very, very busy. In the past month, Billy Bragg has won the Classic Songwriter Award from Q, then collaborated with Beethoven (some of the B-Man's fans mutter darkly), and taken the hand of a small, matronly admirer before kindly giving it back to her, along with an autographed copy of the score. (He's prepared for the fallout: "I'll probably get struck off Morrissey's Christmas card list." ) [more inside]
Andras Schiff's lecture-recitals on Beethoven's piano sonatas
Explore Beethoven's Eroica Symphony [note: flash, sound]
Beethoven stretches out and relaxes. Gorillas belch to let others know where they are. Fish sing the body electric (.mov, 12 MB) for food and safety. How has your own perception shaped your worldview?
The Pianolina - an addictive flash game - is something like a cross between Pong and WolframTones. Brought to you by Grotrian, piano manufacturers since 1835, the pianolina visualizes musical notes as little squares that chime when they bounce against each other or against a wall. Its sophisticated interface lets you add chords, gravity, or start with the basic notes of well known compositions like Beethoven's "Für Elise".
Music is nothing. Sound could become music. The end must be in the beginning, and the beginning in the end. I am here because I am not here. Music lives in the eternal now. Music is the now becoming now. What I learned from Sergiu Celibidache, by Markand Thakar. More inside.
"I haven't been in a concert hall in 4 billion years". Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, 54, had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic in action at Disney Hall. "The anticipation is horrible". He'd started showering daily at a shelter, to gussy himself up as much as possible. Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the Juilliard School when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, he plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written: "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven." After the Philharmonic's rehearsal, Ayers has played Disney Hall -- the real one, this time. Without the bow at first, picking the strings with his right hand, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude. Several Philharmonic staffers heard the music and wandered over, peering in to see a man of the streets, tattered and elegant, close his eyes and drift into ecstasy.
The Wartime Ninth. "Berlin. October 7, 1944. In the Beethovensaal a concert is about to begin, but the theater is empty, relieved of its usual audience studded with Nazi elite. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is on stage, awaiting its cue. Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler stands awkwardly on the podium. The vague meandering of his baton summons the first shadowy note of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony. A Radio Berlin engineer starts his Magnetophon. The most extraordinary orchestral recording of the century has just begun". More inside.
Classic FM Radio Analysis scans play lists from various FM radio stations and allows you to make queries such as how often was Beethoven's Symphony #9 played, what are the most popular pieces played, who are the most popular composers, etc.
The Unheard Beethoven - This website endeavors to make all of Beethoven's unrecorded music readily accessible to the public. These never-before-heard works are now available to anyone with a computer, a modem and a soundcard, in the form of MIDI files. At present, over twelve hours of Beethoven's music is available on this website and in no other listenable format.
As a follow up to this earlier thread, the BBC has just posted the final installment of their Beethoven Experience, free mp3s of Beethoven's symphonies 6 through 9. Get them while you can, they're only up for a week (Number 6 goes down on Monday).
"This, as never before, is Beethoven for free - a gift to the world, just as he might have wished." From Sunday, the BBC will broadcast Beethoven's entire musical output over a six-day period, with all nine symphonies offered as free (and DRM-free) MP3 downloads. By doing so, critic Norman Lebrecht argues that the BBC Philharmonic's cycle may become 'the household version to computer-literate millions in China, India or Korea who have never heard of Karajan or Klemperer.' What that might mean for the struggling classical recording industry is anyone's guess.
9 Beet Stretch - What if you took Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which normally runs about 70 minutes (this is, incidentally, the reason CDs are the length they are), and stretched it out to 24 hours using digital audio processing? The pitch remains intact; only the length is changed. What you end up with can only be called majestic and ethereal, kind of an orchestral version of loveliescrushing. For your convenience, you can listen to the work in one-hour, twenty-minute RealAudio chunks. Hm, I wonder what other music might work well with such radical time-expansion... (via interconnected)