Préludes Op. 28 by Chopin, played live by Vladimir Ashkenazy. This must have been recorded around 1980, when he was touring with these pieces. No. 1-6 [more inside]
posted by Namlit
on Oct 28, 2011 -
"Art Tatum was [one of the two] dominant piano players of the 1930s, astounding everyone with his technique, most especially other piano players, who were convinced he was playing the impossible
" -- Chick Corea, hosting a segment on the largely overlooked Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr.
If that display of skill and improvisation has you interested, here are a few documentaries about the mostly blind piano man who made other pianists question their instrument choice, yet often left the public at large overwhelmed (or unimpressed): Toledo Stories: The Tatum Legacy
(YouTube, 28 minutes) :: Art Tatum - The Art Of Jazz Piano
(YT, 52 min.) :: Art Tatum: A Talent Never to Be Duplicated
(NPR, audio only, 11 min.) :: Art Tatum, 'The Musician's Musician'
(NPR audio, 54 min.) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Oct 25, 2011 -
One of America's most idiosyncratic musical geniuses was, of course, the great Thelonious Monk (Wiki
), and what better way to celebrate his birthday today than viewing (in its entirety!) an excellent documentary on the man and his music? Straight, No Chaser
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Oct 10, 2011 -
Since the late '70s
, Gordon Monahan
has been making
of extracting the unheard from pretty much anything he can get his hands on. Monahan's works
for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments
span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art.
Such pieces include long string installations activated by wind (Long Aeolian Piano, 1984-88)
, by water vortices (Aquaeolian Whirlpool, 1990)
and by indoor air draughts (Spontaneously Harmonious in Certain Kinds of Weather, 1996)
. His work for electronic tone generators
and human speaker swingers (Speaker Swinging, 1982)
, is a hybrid of science, music, and performance art
, where minimalistic trance music
based on the Doppler Effect contrasts with issues central to performance art
such as physical struggle and 'implied threat
'. John Cage once said
, "At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven't heard before.
" [more inside]
posted by wcfields
on Apr 29, 2011 -
The lunch concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw used to be (possibly still are) often public general rehearsals for the big evening series. Here
we can see the mental transformation of pianist Maria Joao Pires
, who expects another Mozart concerto than conductor Riccardo Chailly
begins to conduct. [more inside]
posted by Namlit
on Feb 19, 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 -
"We are Nirvana The Band
, the live musical that will never play the same show twice. To not let us play on your stage would be a terrible mistake. We are Nirvana The Band. For now; forever; for better; for worse. Four -- times four -- is sixteen."
posted by JohnMarston
on Oct 1, 2010 -
Perhaps it's best my grandmother didn't live to see this day: the Liberace Museum, located in the besequined showman's old stomping grounds of Las Vegas, is closing
, and that would have saddened her. Maybe it's time for all of us to brush up on our early Liberace history
. And let's hear the sparkling man, resplendent in gold, take Mack the Knife
through some changes. Farewell, Liberace.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Sep 18, 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 -
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 -
A favorite of John Cage
and Gyorgy Ligeti, the latter describing his music as "so utterly original, enjoyable, perfectly constructed but at the same time emotional...the best of any composer living today," Conlon Nancarrow
's musical ideas
were nevertheless too complex and technically demanding for human performers, and his political ideas too radical and leftist for McCarthy-era America. Expatriated to Mexico, the Texarkana-born avant-gardeist lived most of his life
in isolation, in a cluttered, dusty studio
surrounded by records, piles of books, empty Vodka bottles, newspapers, cigarette cartons, and the tools of his trade: 2 old player pianos and a custom-built piano roll
press. [more inside]
posted by swift
on Feb 15, 2010 -
is a 21 year old blind Japanese pianist. Van Cliburn has this to say about Nobuyuki "Miracle is the only word to describe him. This is truly an act of God." [more inside]
posted by pwally
on Jan 9, 2010 -