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Piano

Grieg Piano

Grieg mellow piano

I wonder how many of us knew this very familiar piece (Morning Mood) was by Grieg?

I didn’t!

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Morning Mood

 

Six Norwegian Mountain Melodies: 2. Lullaby from Valdres

 

And one to play on New Years’ Day!

Melodies of Norway, EG 108: I Went to Bed So Late


Piano

The latest brilliant female pianist

I’ve checked out this lady’s playing every which way! Listening to her play and reading what ‘critics’ say. My conclusion is that she’s as good as it gets! She is Valentina Lisitsa. She has her own Channel on utube. Here’s a link to a Chopin piece. (*you can join a Channel devoted to her clips. there are well over 100 to view)

http://www.youtube.com/user/ValentinaLisitsa#p/u/5/JtZokkiSxBM

PS – There is an interview with her amongst the videos. She appears to be a really nice person – wholly without airs or any trace of “eccentricity”! Refreshing!


Couperin Piano

Add a drum to a piano?! (plus a Couperin medley)

Couperin – Bruit De Guerre

 

Very powerful isn’t it? From what’s mentioned on Amazon it appears that the pianist and/or those who collaborated in making the album added the drum. That was Alexandre Tharaud playing one of the pieces from the series called Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou Les Maillotins by Francois Couperin.

Couperin’s Biography on Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Couperin

I’ve just kept listening to more from the Tic-Toc-Choc. Great stuff. You can see why Bach liked Couperin so much. (*of course these pieces were originally written for harpsichord but performed here on piano) As I researched I found some ‘critics in the know’ who emphasize how wonderful Couperins’ keyboard compositions are and what a shame they haven’t been recorded and exposed as much as they deserve.

How about some more? (No more drums!) 3 selections from Tic Toc Choc lasting about 9 minutes. 1) Le Baricades Misterieuses 2) La Couperin 3) Le Dodo ou L’amour Au Berceau

Couperin medley


Piano

A “New” Piano?

Apparently over the last several hundred years there have been very few changes made to ‘The Piano’ (after it’s transformation from the harpsichord) A recent and radical departure from the traditional piano has occurred right here in Australia by the piano makers Stuart and Sons. Basically the way the strings are wired has been changed, a fourth pedal added and a number of keys added. (from the traditional 88 to either 93 or 102!) The website for Stuart and Sons is below. I recommend the drop down menu ‘The Sound.’ From there check out Players Comments and Video Clips. Very intriguing! Is this the future of the piano?

http://www.stuartandsons.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=66


Beethoven Piano

Beethoven Bagatelles (with the pianist humming!)

Wikipedia defines bagatelle as a short piece of music, typically for the piano, and usually of a light, mellow character. The name bagatelle literally means a “trifle”, as a reference to the innocent character of the piece.

Here’s Glenn Gould tickling the ivories and humming along! You can just barely hear him in the background humming while he plays. Some record companies took out the humming, but this recording of the bagatelles left it in. Gould’s habit of humming along with the music put him in his own league of ‘eccentric.’ There is something unsettling and distracting about it; yet at the same time charming, and maybe appropriate? Gould thought so! It’s not so hard to imagine the great composers themselves – vocalizing along as they played their compositions in private.

6 Bagatelles, Op- 126, No- 1 In G Major , Andante Con Moto Cantabile E Compiacevole

 

6 Bagatelles, Op- 126, No- 2 In G Minor , Allegro

 

7 Bagatelles, Op-33, No-1 In E-Flat Major , Andante Grazioso, Quasi Allegretto


Beethoven Outrageous Beethoven Piano

Outrageous Beethoven – I laughed out loud

Today whilst researching aspects of Beethoven’s music I came upon a reference to the Eroica Variations. The author said something along the lines that they were rarely played because they were so strange, or weird, or something to that effect. Listening about 10 minutes in to the combined 15 variations I laughed out loud (at least twice) Delightfully ridiculous.

A mental picture emerged of a highly intelligent adolescent with medium range autism whose parents force him to practice the piano. This is his revenge. (*Stick with it. It only runs about 3 minutes. I’ll bet you laugh at least once)

Somewhere about in the middle of the collected Eroica Variations played by Jeno Jando

An excerpt from the Eroica Variations


Haydn Piano

Haydn: A weird and wonderful movement from a piano trio

Haydn is indeed one of, if not the greatest composers of Piano trios and quartets. I’ve started a quest to collect all of the Trios (45) This second movement of the Piano Trio In E Major H15-28 really captured my attention.

It’s hard to believe this is music from the 1700’s. I can see a super hip basement nightclub in Tokyo or L.A. where 3 talented Jazz musicians are jamming! Haydn was so willing to play around, get experimental and bold. Go places no one had gone before.

Piano Trio In E Major H15-28 – 2 Allegretto

 

Here is more along the same lines. A snippet from an earlier posting titled: “Heeeer’s Haydn”  I just marvel over his willingness to get ‘edgy’ – take chances. I think more so than Mozart or Beethoven. Perhaps it was because he was a well adjusted, happy man! Comfortable in his own skin, unlike so many geniuses!

From the Posting ‘Heeeer’s Haydn’

This first piece is so cool! So Zen. BUT Not for everyone!

The silences are as important as the music … AND you have to wonder: “What’s gonna’ happen next?! Keep in mind this is the 18th century! – not a modern L.A. or Paris jazz pianist.

UPDATE 18 months later: I only heard it now. This is one of those pieces where Glenn Gould would hum along with his piano playing. You can barely hear him in the background (depending on how good your sound system is) I think most recording companies eventually removed the humming!

From the last 6 Sonatas: Hoboken XVI – no. 48 Andante con espressione

Hoboken-xvi-no-48-i-andante-con-espressione


Chopin Chopin - Who plays him "right"? Piano

Chopin – who plays him “right?”

This is a re-posting of a post that was on the site for quite a while, which I deleted entirely. It’s very important to me since I was raised on Chopin; and recently spent a lot of time researching, listening and downloading various interpretations by the true ‘masters.’ I’ve since realized that the female pianist who I thought had captured Chopin’s essence was way off the mark!

If you love Chopin and would be interested in my search for: “Who plays him ‘right'” .. then read on. Otherwise cut to the chase, scroll down and find the little blue arrows … and listen to arguably the greatest composer of piano music.

So … even though my father – a genuine Chopin freak – listened to Horowitz and Rubinstein primarily: I find them both lacking compared to those I eventually found. Amongst others: Michelangeli, Ugorski, Cziffra, Arrau, Alexandre Tharaud, Richter, Guiomar Novaes, Pollini, Martha Argerich .. and from the ‘young ones’ – Yundi Li and Rafal Blechacz. Rafal was considered SO great in his playing of Chopin that at  the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano CompetitionWarsaw According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”

Without further ado – here are some great interpreters – of the great piano composer – Chopin.

PS – I have deleted and replaced the Long Playing entry for Chopin with other great artists/interpreters of his music.

Cantabile, [KK1230] – In Bb played by Anatoli Ugorski

 

Mazurka in d major op.33 no. 2 played by Martha Argerich

 

Waltze -12 in F minor op.70 2 played by Claudio Arrau

 

Revolutionary Etude played by Georges Cziffra

 

Prelude no. 15 in D flat major (Raindrop) played by Rafal Blechacz


Opium Den Musak?! Piano Scriabin

Scriabin Preludes (Opium den Musak?!)

Perfect background music for either:

1) An opium den in San Francisco in the early 19 hundreds or  …

2) The library/study of a philosophy professor dressed in tweeds,

smoking a pipe and reading Wittgenstein.

(*Seriously – they are relaxing – and you could drift away without opium or a pipe!)

Five Preludes No. 1 in B major Andante

 

Twenty Four Preludes No. 2 in A minor Allegretto

 

Five Preludes No. 3 in G flat major Andante cantabile


Beethoven Brahms Piano

Radu Lupu – slower is better!

A musician friend visited my web site and listened to the second movement of Beethoven’s piano sonata number 8 (the Pathetique) played by Wilhelm Kempff, who was particularly well known for his Beethoven interpretations.  My friend then sent me a link to the same piece played by Radu Lupu. Incredible difference! The Kempff version runs 4:56 while Lupu’s goes 7:05! Have a listen to Kempff first, and then the slower, poetic and beatific version by Lupu.

Beethoven piano sonata 8 / 2nd movement by Kempff

 

by Lupu

 

After reading the article below and a few others about Radu I began seeking his music out and I’m now a real ‘fan.’ I was amazed that I hadn’t found him before, during my lengthy and exhaustive  searches and downloads, for the great pianist of the 20th century.  Unfortunately it so far appears that his recorded catalog is fairly small. After the link there are a few more examples of how ‘Slow is better’! Exquisite Brahms.

http://www.scena.org/lsm/sm13-4/sm13_4_lupu_en.html

Brahms intermezzo 118 second movement played by Idil Biret

 

Played by Radu

 

Brahms Intermezzi, op117 (1) Andante moderato played by Kempff

 

Played by Radu


Chopin LONG PLAYING SELECTIONS Piano

Chopin Long Play

 

Piano Concerto #2 – second movement (*Sorry I lost the “tag” for who the artist is)

24 Preludes Op.28 No.6 in B minor played by Garrick Ohlsson

Fantaisie-Impromptu #4 in C sharp min, Op. 66 played by Martha Argerich

Waltz in A flat op.69 1 Valse de l’adieu played by Claudio Arrau

Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” played by Rafal Blechacz

Berceuse, Op. 57 played by Maurizio Pollini

Scherzo no.2 in B flat minor, Op.31 played by Yundi Li

Mazurka #43  in g, op67-  2 played by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise, op. 22 part 1 played by Alfred Brendel

Chopin – Piano Concertos no. 1 – 2. Romanze. Larghetto played by Yundi Li


Beethoven Haydn Piano

Beethoven and Haydn

Beethoven IS  “The Greatest.” (IMHO)

Did Beethoven ‘inherit'(or use and transform to a higher level): Compositions from Haydn?

Did Beethoven rely on – or come back to Haydn for inspiration? … Haydn’s  humor, spontaneity and Joie de vivre? … and the ability to transform pure ‘sweetness’ into a challenging/deeper probing? This a question for “Scholars”? Let’s just listen!

Well … Beethoven dedicated this piece to Haydn. (*played by Paul Lewis) You be the Judge. How much does Ludwig owe Haydn?!

Beethoven Sonata No. 2 in A major Op. 2 No. 2 III. Scherzo. Allegretto

 

How about watching a new ‘hot shot’ play the same piece? Rafal Blechacz.

Here’s one comment when Rafal Blechacz won all five first prizes! … at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano CompetitionWarsaw According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”

Another judge, the distinguished Irish pianist John O’Conor, said “He is one of the greatest artists I have had a chance to hear in my entire life,” according to PBS. Blechacz was the first Pole to win the prize (given every five years) since 1975, when Krystian Zimerman[1][2][3][4][5] won.

What a sweet, honest and straightforward man he appears to be!


Piano Satie

Worth a Repeat

This piece is already on the site (see: A Little Satie and then some more!) –  under Blog Titles.

I thought it was worth putting it out again on it’s own, instead of just part of a Satie medley. I like it a lot. How ’bout you? (*this version is played a bit faster and with more intensity than some I’ve found and it sounds “right” to me)

Did something Transcendent happen? … somewhere?

Eric Satie 5ieme Gnossienne Modere


Bear