... the International Music Score Library Project, has trod in the footsteps of Google Books and Project Gutenberg and grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere. It claims to have 85,000 scores, or parts for nearly 35,000 works, with several thousand being added every month. That is a worrisome pace for traditional music publishers, whose bread and butter comes from renting and selling scores in expensive editions backed by the latest scholarship. More than a business threat, the site has raised messy copyright issues and drawn the ire of established publishers. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese
on Feb 22, 2011 -
Classical pianists tend to be identified by their favorite repertoire. Thus, Murray Perahia
got stamped as a Mozart and Schumann pianist in his early career, and people raised their eyebrows when he embarked on Liszt
and other heavy repertoire. And Rudolf Serkin
is today perhaps known best for his Beethoven, and not for the Chopin etudes
he played in his earlier years.
Searching for something totally else, I stumbled upon a few private recordings by Clara Haskil [more inside]
posted by Namlit
on Nov 7, 2010 -
There's never been a better time to be a curious classical pianist. A few YouTube users
have been uploading synchronized scores to dozens of interesting pieces, usually virtuosic
, and often out of print or otherwise unavailable. There are all sorts of treasures
, but perhaps the most notable scores are those of a lost generation of post-Scriabin Russian composers
whose avant-garde output was later suppressed by the Soviet government.
posted by dfan
on Nov 4, 2010 -
Dame Joan Sutherland has died
at the age of 83. One of the most remarkable female opera singers of the 20th century, she was dubbed La Stupenda by a La Fenice audience in 1960 after a performance as Alcina. She possessed a voice of beauty and power, combining extraordinary agility, accurate intonation, "pin point staccatos, a splendid trill and a tremendous upper register, although music critics often complained about the imprecision of her diction. Her friend Luciano Pavarotti once called Sutherland the "Voice of the Century", while Montserrat Caballé described the Australian's voice as being like "heaven".
posted by Joe Beese
on Oct 11, 2010 -
"But this wasn't quite enough and so then I got the idea of having all thirteen of the lowest tones of the piano played together... In other words, I was inventing a new musical sound later to be called 'tone clusters'... Anyway, this was my professional debut as a composer." Henry Cowell's musical autobiography
. Cowell was one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music, described
by John Cage as "the open sesame for new music in America." In this hour-long program recorded four years before his death in 1965, compositions from every stage in Cowell's career are contextualized and discussed by the man himself.
posted by No-sword
on Aug 8, 2010 -
"In a way I wish it did not require such a formidable technique, because I do not really enjoy sweating over this music." This is virtuoso pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin speaking of Charles-Valentin Alkan
, the Romantic pianist said to have made even Liszt nervous, and whose exhilarating works fell into obscurity due to their rigorous technical demands. For a warm-up, here's Alkan's major etude "Allegro barbaro"
, as performed by Jack Gibbons. A machine recording of his piece Le Chemin de Fer
in which you can see the keys being pressed. Recordings of Youtube exist of people attempting his near-impossible Scherzo focoso
(and, for comparison, a mechanical rendition of the same
). And for encore, here is Hamelin again playing Les Quatre Ages
, frequently considered Alkan's most mature work, a sonata depicting the four ages of man.
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jul 29, 2010 -
Imagine this: 'This evening we are going to hear the 2nd Symphony by Claude Debussy, the Austrian première of Insect Life by the Finnish opera composer Kalevi Aho, and the 2nd Symphony by Bela Bartók.’ What is a symphony? What does the concept mean nowadays? And what does it mean, to compose symphonically?
posted by Wolfdog
on Jun 29, 2010 -
from the 2010 Old-Time Piano Championship
in Peoria. Featuring early March, Cakewalk, Ragtime, Boogie, Stride, Blues, Novelty, Jazz, Classical, and popular song styles from before 1930.
posted by gman
on Jun 20, 2010 -
[Martha] Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brainteasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.
- Alex Ross, "Madame X". The New Yorker
- November 12, 2001
posted by Joe Beese
on Jun 9, 2010 -
Rene Fleming pulls a reverse-Sting
and enters a "parallel universe" of sound. Brings up interesting issues in the different ways people in the pop and classical realm define the "natural" vocie, as well acknowledges that in our completely shattered, niche market this cross-over record has no more or less validity then any other album being released today.
posted by The3rdMan
on May 31, 2010 -
Over the past few years, Eric Whitacre
has been taking the composition world by storm. And now he's all over the
web. (Most links silent, personal website has an autoplay rainstorm going on.) His choral works range from the mysterious and brooding Water Night
to the rambunctious modern madrigal, With a Lily In Your Hand
, to the wonderfully lush Sleep
(formerly a setting of Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" - tragically halted by copyright infringement, but still available
thanks to the magic of YouTube). While his instrumental compositions run the spectrum from silly musical parody (Godzilla Eats Las Vegas
) to poignant melancholy (October
) with some delicate crossover between vocal and instrumental (Lux Aurumque
- first choral, then instrumental!). If you are or think you may be even remotely interested in contemporary classical music, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the work of Eric Whitacre.
posted by greekphilosophy
on Jun 8, 2009 -
Rejoice, classical music lovers! After closing in October 2007 due to copyright issues, the International Music Score Library Project (previously)
has reopened! (In June, but there's no FPP about it.) From a quick overview, it seems the site has most of every major (pre-20th-century?) composer's opus - far more than any other "free sheet music" website.
posted by archagon
on Oct 20, 2008 -
What's the most difficult piano piece?
. Is it La Campanella
, written by Liszt to show off what only he could do? (performance
) Is it Balakirev's Islamey
, which even Balakirev struggled to play? (performance
) Or Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit
, written to top Islamey
) 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
posted by argybarg
on Jan 6, 2007 -