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Found 8 results

  1. And inspired historian, always relevant: But Palamabron called down a Great Solemn Assembly, That he who will not defend Truth, may be compelled to Defend a Lie, that he may be snared & caught & taken.
  2. 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.)
  3. If I were forced to pick one desert-island piece of piano music - perhaps *any* piece of music - the Piano Concerto #2 in B-Flat Major, Opus 83, by Johannes Brahms, would be under serious consideration - I could spend the rest of my life studying just this one piece, and still not plumb its immense depths. It is, simply put, one of the greatest pieces of music ever written - one of the greatest works of art produced in the history of mankind. B2, as I affectionately call it, is a piece of such profundity that I cannot adequately convey it using the clumsy written word; instead, I will direct you to one particularly great recording. At around 50 minutes in length, it is no small feat to get through, but each of the four movements is its own masterpiece, and listening to parts of it is better than never having heard it at all. I cannot imagine what could have possessed a human being to think of something this epic in scope - the profound encapsulation of musical heroism, written down with pen and paper. It is the equivalent of any Beethoven Symphony or Sonata, or of any painting by da Vinci, or of any play by Shakespeare. We can start right here with my choice for the greatest pianist who ever lived: Sviatislav Richter. It's in five parts on YouTube, so you'll need to listen to all five to hear the entire piece. You can spend as much time listening to this piece as you would reading War and Peace, and your time will be equally well-spent here: 1st Movement - Allegro non Troppo (This is a very long movement, and it was apparently necessary to split it into two YouTube entries.) 2nd Movement - Allegro Appassionato (Just when you think music can't get any more profound than the 1st movement, along comes the second.) 3rd Movement - Andante (This long, expansive, absolutely beautiful movement is almost desperately needed after the 1st 2 movements, which leave the listener completely spent.) 4th Movement - Allegro Grazioso (The ten-second passage from 1:56 - 2:06 is unspeakably difficult, but notice also the call-and-response motif from 1:05 - 1:30 - it is imperative to play this lightly.)
  4. I thoroughly enjoyed that wonderful performance. If you enjoy Brahms and challenging piano parts, watch this; Brahms - Piano Concerto #1 in D-Minor (Op 15) played by Hélène Grimaud
  5. Played by one of the great piano trio ensembles of all time, Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo Yo Ma: You know, when I was sort of coming of age as a music lover, music of the Romantic period was very much in eclipse, and the Baroque was everything. (I'm talking about the late 1960s.) Maybe it wasn't so everywhere, but among the circle I moved in, Baroque music was praised indifferently, whether it was sublime, by J.S. Bach, or not so sublime, by Telemann or Handel or even lesser lights (and there were many, many lights so much lesser it's a wonder their work survived at all). Music after Beethoven and before, say, Stravinsky (or perhaps Mahler) was pretty much sneered at, and even Beethoven was looked at askance as having enabled Chopin and Schumann and Tchaikovsky to commit their sins against taste. I don't know what they (we?) were thinking, but then a lot of these same people idolized Laura Nyro, whose music I could never stand, so maybe I should have known better than to listen to their opinions. Consequently, I missed out for years on things like the glorious chamber music by the Romantics, of which this piano trio by Mendelssohn is one of the greatest glories. I can't really quite imagine music being more beautiful than this. I particularly love Emanuel Ax's straightforward, un-histrionic playing in this and the rest of this kind of repertoire. He'll be remembered as one of the great pianists of his generation. You might want to listen to the andante of the 2nd piano trio played by these young fellows -- pretty nice, huh? (I had originally posted a video of Ax, Perlman, and Ma performing the 2nd piano trio in front of an audience, with the slow movement of Mendelssohn's 1st piano trio given as an encore, but alas, this has vanished from YouTube. If you run across it, you should certainly watch it.)
  6. I'm probably not alone in having dis-favorite musical compositions, i.e., pieces of music that regardless of their quality I'd really rather never hear again. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Ravel's Bolero. Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". The Canon in D by the fellow whose name reminds me of Taco Bell. Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Smetana's Moldau. In fact, I used to think of Smetana as "the Moldau guy". Then one day, about three years ago, I stumbled across Smetana's piano trio, and was so stunned by it I quickly bought four or five different performances on CD, and for a while there I was listening to it at least once a day. One of the key characteristics of dis-favorite pieces is over-exposure, and yet after hearing Smetana's piano trio more than a hundred times (I figure), I find it as thoroughly ravishing and emotionally satisfying as I did after two or three hearings. As I've mentioned before, I love Romantic chamber music, and this piece is perhaps as extravagantly Romantic as anything ever written. The late, lamented Beaux Arts Trio: 1st movement: 2nd movement: 3rd movement:
  7. If you like Romantic chamber music, which I love, you might want to listen to Schumann: The Complete Works for Wind and Piano, a magnificent set of recordings, which was where I first came across the Opus 73 Phantasiestí¼cke. The middle piece in the Opus 94 Drei Romanzen for oboe and piano (marked "einfach, innig") has been for many years the theme music for my dear, departed dog Cassie, which means that it often makes me cry.
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