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Found 14 results

  1. There has been only one other person in my lifetime I idolized as much as Sviatislav Richter, and that is Brooks Robinson. Mar 19, 2015 - "Sviatislav Richter: The Pianist Who Made the Earth Move" by Steve Wigler on npr.org
  2. Jean René Désiré Françaix is not a well-known 20th-century composer in the United States, but is the composer of one of the more difficult pieces in the clarinet repertoire: "Tema con Variazioni." I'm proud to say that my son, Matt, will be performing this as the opening piece in his solo recital early next year in Bloomington, Indiana, most likely Feb 27, 2017 (if anyone is interested in seeing it live on podcast, let me know, and I'll confirm the date, which, for now, is tentative). If anyone is interested in attending the recital, I'll be going out to Bloomington and can give you a ride. The great neo-Impressionist Maurice Ravel, wrote this to Francaix' parents: "Among the child's gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither." There aren't many great recordings of this online, but this will at least give you an idea for the piece.
  3. I love Big Maybelle. I used to have a two-LP compilation of her work that was fantastic. I haven't heard it in probably 20 years (or more), but I recognize this track from it. Thanks for posting it. I must confess I don't remember ever hearing of Sid Wyche, so thanks for your research. Turns out he co-wrote the widely recorded standard "Well all right, okay, you win" and also the mischievous (to put it mildly) "(I Love to Play Your Piano) Baby Let Me Bang Your Box", first released by The Toppers in 1954:
  4. Her live album from the Monterey jazz fest is also excellent. Truly a great artist.
  5. What I find incredible about this is that at 1:27, there is a very slight, almost imperceptible, mistake that nobody has probably even noticed before; yet, Spock gives a very slight, almost imperceptible, wince. Coincidence? I hate to piss on the party, but this music is not what Spock is playing. (But this is - it's by Ivan Ditmars.)
  6. Two extremely knowledgeable friends of mine (a professional musician and a world-class amateur) cannot agree on this one performer - I say Gilels is world-class in every respect; they say he's "stiff." I say they're wrong; they say I'm wrong. I'm hoping that this title attracts knowledgeable pianists on Google that are familiar enough with Gilels to express an opinion. I don't even see this as being a close call. Gilels plays 20th-century Russian music better than anyone, including Richter. Love of Three Oranges (you have to watch on YouTube)
  7. John Dehner is someone whose face you recognize, but you don't know his name (how many dozens, if not hundreds, of actors and actresses fit this mold?) I don't want to simply parrot Wikipedia, but he was an animator, professional pianist (making him near-and-dear to my heart), and an actor in radio, films, and television, having nearly a fifty-year career. He was in three "Twilight Zone" episodes (all quoted above), among countless other things - I hope these little blurbs will stimulate memories of actors like Dehner (né John Forkum in the former name for Staten Island: Richmond (believe it or not, it was officially called the "Borough of Richmond" until 1975!). Unfortunately, among these episodes is perhaps my least favorite (or, more accurately, "most hated" in the entire series: "The Jungle" - my comments about it are above, and they stand as written. I cannot believe Rod Serling had the final say in this, as he was *in no way* the type of man who would foster these stereotypes about people of color - if he was alive today, I bet he'd jump at the chance to get his side of the story in). Incidentally, the other two episodes were very good to excellent.
  8. All the talk about the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina puts me in mind of Hurricane Betsy, which is coming up on 50 years next month, and especially of the memorialization of that devastating storm by the great Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins: This was released in 1965 or possibly 1966, so it must have been recorded soon after the events it chronicles. Lightnin' Hopkins is a great favorite of mine, so here's a little Guitar Lightnin': (It says "around 1966" onscreen, but this track and "Hurricane Betsy" above were both released on the album Lightnin' Strikes on the Verve "Folkways" label in 1965, I think, but it may have been 1966. It may come as no surprise that I used to have the LP.) While we're at it, let's go to Louisiana for a little mojo hand: And finally, let's go way back for a little more:
  9. Our members seem to be attracted to strong females, so you all might be interested in this relatively minor, semi-decent, somewhat-obscure classical pianist named Mart(h)a Argerich from Argentina. Here she is at age 67, playing Scarlatti's D-Minor Sonata, K141. It's only 3 1/2 minutes long, so drop whatever you're doing and watch this: All kidding aside, if you don't know about her, learn. Learn as much as you can. I'll post more about her if you promise to do your homework.
  10. I was having a private conversation with somebody on this site, and we were agreeing that more than anyone else, the founding father of rock and roll was Chuck Berry. But Chuck Berry wasn't an exceptional singer, or an exceptional guitarist, although he certainly wasn't bad as either. But I would like to put forward the claim that the founder of rock-and-roll singing was Little Richard. When you listen to his mid-fifties iconic vocal performances, you hear prefigured just about everything to come: Elvis, John and Paul, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, John Fogerty, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Jackie Wilson, even Bob Dylan. Prince. But also the R & B and soul artists like James Brown, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and even Aretha Franklin. You can hear all of them learning what to do when you listen to, and watch, Little Richard murder "Long Tall Sally" (1956): Comment on this extraordinary exhibition is probably superfluous, although I will point out that it seems remarkably like a minstrel show, except the performers are black rather than in black-face. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that. But my goodness, the joy shines through Little Richard's vocal technique and the expressions on his face and his physical moves. This was a singer who knew what he wanted to do and damn, he did it. It's also remarkable how beautiful he was to look at.
  11. It's pretty amazing that one single concert from over 50 years ago has its own Wikipedia entry, but this was no ordinary concert. The New York Philharmonic Concert of Apr 6, 1962 Here's a 4-minute video with all the controversy encapsulated: And here's the whole thing: I listened to it all, and I was interested in the 3rd movement in particular. There's a good interview with Gould at about the 57:30 point that's well-worth listening to. Gould is noted for dismissing virtuoso pianists who "show off" as opposed to honoring the composer's intentions to the letter, which makes it doubly interesting. Is he having his cake and eating it too? I know experts who would answer on both sides of that question. The first minute of this video gets to the heart of the matter (after the first minute, it becomes a separate topic, and a beautiful one, to be discussed in another thread - however, at about the 3-minute mark, Gould chimes in with a comment directly relevant to this issue. He also inserts a comment at about 6:10 perhaps even more relevant - if you can stomach a slow Schubert movement (which takes patience), this is worth watching, and even studying - you know, even though this thread has nothing to do with Richter, this entire video is very much on-topic because it really gets into "why" Gould did what he did): Gould, by the way, was "eccentric" to say the least, and people have gone so far as to wonder whether or not he had Asperger's Syndrome.
  12. "They Say It's Spring" from the 1958 album Give Him the Ooh-La-La. That's Blossom Dearie, piano and vocal; Herb Ellis, guitar; Ray Brown, bass; and Jo Jones, drums. (I don't know if it's true now, or if it was ever true, but it used to be said that Ray Brown was the most-recorded musician of all time. He certainly never wanted for work.)
  13. Alice Herz-Sommer died yesterday. I'd never heard of her until I saw this NPR video (scroll down to the bottom). Nevertheless, I shared this video with two professional-level classical musician friends of mine, adding that she plays the Bach F-Major Invention (BWV 779) - at 110 years of age - better than I can. Oh, I could play it faster, and I could play it louder, but I couldn't play it better - she has the piece under *total* control, and her tone and voicing are superb. The three of us rarely agree on anything, but we agree on this: Herz-Sommer was a marvelous musician - and she *loved* music: look at the joy on her face when she plays it. As Sasha K said, "It appears she is not thinking about how markets are going to open in Japan overnight, which clarifies her musical thought nicely." It may be more significant to the rest of the world that she was the "world's oldest Holocaust survivor," starring in the documentary "Lady In Number 6," but it's clear to me that it was more significant to *her* that she was a musician. Alice Herz-Sommer, we need more people like you in this world, and I will always look to your F-Major Invention as reference material - as something to which I can only aspire. Rest in peace.
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