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Pianonoise Radio:
All Bach program 
upcoming events: Signup for my new OLLI course, "Amadeus: Myth and Reality" at the Osher U Pitt website. The course runs Thursday afternoons, 1-2:50 at Third Presbyterian Church, Shadyside, from Oct. 18 - November 15th Registration is now open for the Fall term!

--East End Song Studio Music Night, August 25th at TBA, First UMC, Pittsburgh
--Group organ recital at St. Paul UMC, Mt. Lebanon, Sunday, September 23rd at 3 p.m. featuring 4 organists from the South Hills, and one guy from Shadyside (shh!)
The week's featured recording: (8/17)

Golliwog's Cakewalk
from Children's Corner Suite
by Claude Debussy

One of the handful of composers celebrating big anniversaries from the archive is Mr. Debussy, who died in 1918. This is not one of his greatest achievements, but it is really fun to play, the listen to! And he makes fun of Wagner, so it's all good.
Getting Through


Whenever I give a concert for regular folks I get the same pieces of advice: play a variety, keep it short, play stuff they know and like. Also, play Phantom of the Opera.

This can be a little disconcerting if you are a classical pianist, but over the years I've developed several ways to make even some pretty heavy repertoire go down favorably. I've found you don't have to pander in order to be successful. Which is a good thing, since I'd like to do more than scratch the same limited musical itches all the time. But I do understand people's fears that I might tie people to chairs and make them listen to the complete works of Beethoven and that it might be long and boring. I get it.
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"classic" blog: from May 7, 2014
...The mind is really an amazing thing, and can store lots and lots of information for later recall. Think of it in terms of compound interest. The more you try to make it memorize, the better able it will be to do this. The more information you feed it, and the more often you reinforce that information--in other words, the more you use this ability, the more it will grow. The more you put it off, loathe it, think you are bad at it and therefore don't make the effort to be otherwise, the less it will grow.

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Hello. Now that I have your attention, I'd just like to say....

Wait! Don't go!....too late!


Well, for anybody who stuck around long enough to read this sentence, let me just say what a pleasure it is to have you and thank you for violating the 5-second rule. It is quite an honor.

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5 Second Rule

 A Night at the (concept) Opera

Kristen and I have been to the opera twice recently, once in Vienna and once in New York. Both of these stagings, one by a small company and one by the Mighty Metropolitan, have been what we'll call 'updates' of venerable old classics. What I mean is that they left the music alone, but the sets and costumes, and therefore the place of the story, were quite removed from anything that would have been part of the original production.


This isn't anything new. Updated Shakespeare--Hamlet on a motorcycle, Macbeth as part of a street gang in 1950s New York, anything to relieve the tedium of presenting the same works exactly the same way every time--has become quite the fashion for opera and theater companies for as far back as I remember (which is only a couple of decades, by the way!). Sometimes the production is simply moved, lock, stock, and barrel (to borrow a phrase from the distant past) into a new century and a new place. In other productions, the whole idea of time and place seems completely obliterated and fantastical and experimental elements take over the set, and the people who inhabit them. Once, a few years ago, Kristen was watching a very 'avant-garde' staging of Parsifal in Germany. She fell asleep at some point and when she woke up there were electric sheep on the stage! I don't know Parsifal very well, but I feel pretty certain that Wagner did not include any parts for electric sheep. (besides, the tenors wouldn't like the competition)

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