Leopold Godowsky's technique was such that Arthur Rubinstein wrote, "It would take me 500 years to get a mechanism like [his]." Which came in handy playing his 53 Studies on Chopin's Etudes - which are often nominated as the most difficult pieces in the repertoire.
Leo Ornstein is generally considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of the early twentieth century. His performances of works by avant-garde composers and his own innovative and even shocking pieces made him a cause célèbre on both sides of the Atlantic. By the mid-1920s, he had walked away from his fame and soon disappeared from popular memory. And although he passed away in 2002, the internet still remembers him and his amazing legacy of work. At this website dedicated to the artist and his work, you can read all about him as well as listen to many of his scores and MP3s-on-demand. There's also readable sheet music here at the International Music Score Library Project . And there's a register of archived documents spanning Leo's career over at Yale University's website. [more inside]
Winning the Gold Medal in Young International Piano Superstardom is Chinese pianist Lang Lang. The 26 year old former prodigy compares himself not to Glen Gould, but to Tiger Woods. Given his "star appeal" and numerous endorsements, it's an apt comparison. [more inside]
5 Year Old Adopted South Korean Blind Piano Prodigy Yoo Ye-eun can play songs after hearing them once. Watch her perform with Britain's Got Talent's Connie Talbot in a South Korean TV show called "Star King".
Smooth Jazz, also sometimes referred to as new adult contemporary music or instrumental pop, is generally described as a genre that utilizes instruments and improvisation traditionally associated with jazz and stylistic influences drawn from mostly R&B, but also funk and pop. Since the late 1980s and into the 1990s, it has become successful as a radio format. [source wikipedia] [more inside]
Monsieur, you vill not speak disrespectfully of a member of ze family! It is a boon travelling companion, without which I do not function, I cannot operate. It has been with me for 21 years, zis thing, this chair!Glenn Gould performed for 21 years seated in a folding card chair modified by his father to be height adjustable. That one chair accompanied him around the world in support of each of his recordings and performances, and now resides on a pedestal at the National Library of Canada. Luckily, exact replicas of the skeletal, cushion-less chair are available for only €990. [more inside]
Free Bird on piano [YouTube]. The 14-year-old musician, who calls himself UnclassicalPiano on YouTube, currently has 16 other selections, including Stairway To Heaven, Behind Blue Eyes, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Message In A Bottle and Black Sabbath's Paranoid (his main interest is metal), all of which he says he learned to play by ear.
Have these fellows whetted your appetite for Southern Hemispherical comic singer-songwriters who care about The Issues? Barefoot Australian Tim Minchin ought to satisfy that hunger with an environmental anthem and a peace anthem. But aside from his social activism, he's also vulgar, poignant, dark, and of course, rock. [more inside]
A day in the life of Abdullah Ibrahim, South-African composer and performer who creates hypnotic and softly singing grooves. To me, his recent piano trios are the highlights of his work, because they are both swinging and soulful. But his compositions do not sound bad in a big band setting -(or in an arrangement for guitar). His music is quiet and meditative but powerful, and has sometimes been used as a banner for freedom and equality. Now he likes to withdraw once in a while to the smallest scenes (french commentary with some english underneath), putting strong emphasis on necessary simplicity. Written portrait.
In 1956, Time Magazine wrote, "He is the summit of sex—the pinnacle of Masculine, Feminine and Neuter. Everything that He, She or It can ever want." (Wait. Seriously???) Behold the evolution of The Liberace Show: from dapper virtuoso to sequined, wacky showman. [more inside]
Sad, head-down legendary jazz piano. (Single-link YouTube) More Bill and the Wiki. [Previously] Hopefully more of a reminder than a double.
Rachmaninoff had big hands. (More from Igudesman and Joo (flash), former students of Yehudi Menuhin). [more inside]
Zenph Studios has developed a process (using high-resolution MIDI) which "re-performed" Glenn Gould's famous 1955 piano recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations in hybrid multichannel SA-CD format.
He's got Rhythm (single-link YouTube)
The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource is the place for songwriting tips, tools, interactivities and connecting with other songwriters around the world. See the section about musical instruments or get into the guitar player's guide. Start communicating with other musicians and songwriters in the forums and check out the music reviews. Lots to do, see, hear, learn, and most of all, enjoy.
At fourteen years old, Jennifer Lin is a shade better on the piano than most eighth-graders. (video) [via]
Regina Spektor is a Russian-born American singer-songwriter and pianist associated with the anti-folk scene centered on New York City's East Village. Incorporating "piano riffs and integrating moans, nonsense words, groans, gurglings, or warblings," Spektor has a pretty unique voice (Seattle P-I: "an instrument with the agility of an athlete and the flexibility of a yogi") and style which incorporates "beatbox-style flourishes in the middle of ballads, or the use of a drum stick to tap rhythms on the body of the piano or chair" (wiki). She's got a pretty unique voice and "Fidelity" is a very unusual and rather enjoyable music video. Someone to keep an eye on (although Mefites already had been doing so).
Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.3, in D minor, with Martha Argerich on piano. Many know the Rach 3 from the movie Shine. [Via C&L.]
The Hatto Hoax. Joyce Hatto has been described as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of." Her performances of piano works by Liszt, Schubert, and Rachmaninov were praised by classical afficionados for their "addictively beautiful sonority, cultured musicianship, and total instrumental mastery." Since she died in June 2006, however, Hatto has been at the center of one of the stranger scandals to hit classical music in years. It's starting to look like some or all of her treasured, hard-to-find recordings made since 1990 are not her playing at all. [Via]
"Feelings" - As only the brilliant but... ummm... eccentric (case in point: July/August 1995 in that last link) Dr. Nina Simone could've performed it. >
What's the most difficult piano piece? Opinions vary. Is it La Campanella, written by Liszt to show off what only he could do? (performance, score) Is it Balakirev's Islamey, which even Balakirev struggled to play? (performance, score) Or Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, written to top Islamey? (performance, score) Does Godowsky double his points by reconfiguring the already-difficult Chopin for the left hand? (performance) And if someone plays all four hours of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum, written across four staves to fit the extra notes, will anyone listen? (perfomance excerpts, score excerpts)
Andras Schiff's lecture-recitals on Beethoven's piano sonatas
What is people's fascination with playing the Mario theme on the piano? Blindfolded, even. Super Mario World, too. And Mario 64, and... some other rubbish.
When an accident becomes a community attraction... It's not one of these, but when some lads from Sheffield couldn't fit their piano into their house, they inadvertently created a new concept - the 'street piano'. Start your own street piano community today!
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".
"The sound was not of this world, it hovered in space like some celestial blessing". He could play the piano ”before he had learned to smile”, his mother said, and he gave his first concert at the age of six. He studied under Alfred Cortot, Charles Munch, Paul Dukas, and Nadia Boulanger. He was an esteemed teacher and critic at 19, an international phenomenon at 24. He escaped from his native Rumania to Switzerland in 1943 with his fiancée, a joint capital of five Swiss francs in their pockets. After the war, just as he had arrived in the pantheon of great performing artists, Dinu Lipatti was diagnosed with leukemia. In September 1950, near death, despite the urgings of his doctors Lipatti insisted upon one last recital at Besançon. As his wife recalled, this was the only way Lipatti could bear to take his leave of the world. Lipatti was so weak he could barely walk to the piano. But once he began playing, he became transformed. After performing 13 waltzes, he could no longer muster the strength necessary to perform the final selection. So he substituted Myra Hess's piano arrangement of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".(page with sound). Three months later, Lipatti died at the age of 33. After Lipatti's funeral, his old mentor Cortot wrote: "There was nothing to teach you. One could, in fact, only learn from you."
An interactive Shockwave-based look at Bach's Well-tempered Clavier. Go one level up and explore the entire coverage of Bach.
A piano. A catgut free piano. A catgut free piano that includes cats. Very angry cats.
Listen to some Jelly Roll Morton, fill out a sex survey... Imagine taking the piano licks of Jelly Roll Morton and adding a Google Maps-like approach to mapping sexual activity in the US. The possibilities are endless...
Cool Keys Radio. A true labor of electric piano love that will undoubtedly sate the taste of even the most ardent lover of the instrument.
Piano Chords One would think that searching for such a pedantic string via Google would not net much in this post-adwords age, however Chord House's (apparently HTML-based) Chord Generator app is suprisingly nifty, with visualizations and audio samples of both each of the notes and and chord itself. Now don't go hogging all the bandwidth -- I aim to plunk down "People Just Ain't No Good" from available chord tablature for the next half hour or so...
Last night, I watched François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player. While looking for information on the movie today, I came across this website which features famous uses of the Giuoco Piano opening in chess. Yes, it is the only chess move I know, aside from losing....
Tickling the ivories - uh-oh, bad girl post! This mpg video clip is just too darn fun not to share, but it is definitely nsfw, which is why I am posting it pre-Friday. But hear me, you will get fired if you open this at work! I mean it! just doing my bit to dispel the boyzone myth
"Picasso of keyboard funk" - Professor Longhair would be 84 today if he were still alive. His distinctive meld of boogie woogie, blues, funk and Latin makes for piano that is quintessentially New Orleans...Tipitinas, one of the more famous local music bars, took its name from his signature song. "Fess" was a seminal influence on such musical greats as James Booker, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Art Neville, Doctor John and Marcia Ball, one of my current favorites. You can hear a few Fess samples from Crawfish Fiesta, arguably his best recording, issued just after he died in 1980. He was inducted in the R&R Hall of Fame as an early influencer in 1993. Happy birthday, Professor!
Christopher O'Riley is a pianist who has transcribed some Radiohead tunes. Give a listen if you like, and spare me the Radiohead does/doesn't suck thread.
A little plastic toy piano discovered at a flea market becomes the focus of Twink, the whimsical all toy band. Listen to or download the slightly surreal, sugary and surprisingly complex mp3s to hear the piano and the accompanying toys; hurdy-gurdies, musical saws, busy boxes, speak 'n spells, squeaky toys and giggle sticks. The happy-go-lucky yet vaguely sinister "Hoppity Jones" is a personal favorite. Twink is the brainchild of Mike Langlie, icon maker extraordinaire at Yipyop.
Babe Ruth threw a piano into a Massachusetts pond eighty-something years ago. Will finding and restoring it break the Curse of the Bambino? Who cares! Life is about the journey, and this is a cool one.
Le Piano Graphique music simulator. A few keystrokes and a bit of Shockwave and -- Voilà! -- you've created a musical/artistic masterpiece.
And what would you do with 2 Million dollars? Ah yes, buy a piano.
Net Music School Found a very cool site in Flash that provides online guitar and piano lessons over the 'net. They got a free lesson sections too.