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The week's featured recording: (5/18)


Andaluza from Spanish Dances
by Enrique Granados





This week on the blog:    FRIDAY MAY 18, 2018

Goldfish Variations

Thinking, I've heard, is the art of connecting things.

This is a difficult thing on its own merits, but there is also a force pulling in the opposite direction.

...the ways of standard communication in this world are shock, and awe....inevitability is boring.

Nostradamus would not get a job at CNN.

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"classic" blog: from March 2, 2015

Care for a game of tennis? How about a round of golf? Later, we could even go dancing, all in just a few minute's time, all set to music, courtesy of Erik Satie. Or is it?

In 1914, Satie was approached about a strange assignment to create a series of short piano pieces detailing various human activities: sports and recreations. The pieces were to be accompanied by illustrations of those activities, and the whole, beautifully bound and featuring not only the eye-catching illustrations but the composer's own impeccably attractive penmanship, would be sold as a kind of coffee table book to rich art lovers. What a plan! Stravinsky was asked to do it, and he turned it down, saying the fee was too low. Satie was then asked and thought the fee was too high. But he did it anyway.

Those are the bald facts, but they don't give one much insight into the music itself. It is just those insights that I'm trying to plumb away at; in fact, this will drive much of a concert I'm preparing to play later this spring. Are these pieces musical depictions of something, or not? And of what use is music if it is simply imitation of something which is fundamentally not musical, like a game of tennis?

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Groan.  (Lift).  Groan.   (Lift).   Groan.

That could be the sound of me lifting weights at the gym. Or it could be my mental state when I practice the piano. Either way, it's not pretty.

Lots of people have found this out. Practicing is not usually that much fun. No wonder, every fifteen seconds, someone in North America quits taking piano lessons.


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The Courage to Go to Lunch
Wed. May 1 , 2013


 
simple gifts



 an essay on some of the gifts musicians might have and their worth in the eyes of the rest of the population


"But still the myth lives on of the great composer whose greatness can be proven precisely because he can write a towering work in just hours on the strength of his "inspiration," who never need second-guess his initial thoughts, who can't even control them.  It is such an attractive idea, too, because it exudes confidence and certainty. Never crossing anything out, sure of what you want to say and just saying it.  People love performers, too, who are brimming with self-confidence whether they are backing it up with real musical substance or just plain glitz."

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