Tag Archives: music

Bach Sonatas and Partitas

16 Apr

Just for our mutual information,  music for the three Bach sonatas and three partitas for unaccompanied violin are free on the web, either in edited versions, or the Bach original scores.  Cantorian looks like a very useful site and has the original versions.  So does Werner Icking.  That site also lists other public domain sites.

Guess who will be starting something from these?

Right now for orchestra she is working on a difficult piece.  Here is a nice recording of Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro (Elgar.mp3) by the String Orchestra of NYC.   Sort of asking a lot, I think.  So does her teacher.  So does she.

Friday Night Concert

12 Apr

Three ladies went to hear Jennifer Koh and her accompanist, Shai Wosner perform Mozart and Schubert Friday night.

The music was beautiful.  Mr. Wosner was absolutely wonderful as a player and accompanist.

I wish I could give Ms. Koh such high praise.  But throughout the night I kept wondering what more she could do musically if she would only restrain herself; if she poured herself into the music rather than into the incessant gyrating, hunching, twisting, bending, stooping, twitching movement of her body and head.  That behavior forcibly detracted from the loveliness of the music, especially the Mozart, since she seemed to increase the speed of  head twitches when she played  faster, lighter pieces.  The more lyrical movements of Schubert were the least physically distracting.

The audience gave them a standing ovation and they came back and played a bit from Beethoven’s 6th sonata.

Such artistry and beauty marred unnecessarily.  Isabelle’s teacher is so right to insist on her standing up straight and use minimal movement.  He also teaches her to be self aware of habits that can become detrimental and disturbing to others if allowed to go unnoticed.  It seems Ms. Koh has no one like him in her life to speak to these habits.

The other interesting note was both performers used music for all pieces!  It made me feel better about my memorization.  More anon.

Almost Spring Recital

4 Mar

At my home, March 4, 2010

Prelude # 7 in B minor – R. Vandall                               C

Minuets # 1 and 2 – JS Bach                                                B

Jesu Parvule – A. Burt                                                      C and  I

Prelude # 2 in D major – R. Vandall                               B

Allegro – JH Fiocco                                                         I and D

Minuet # 3 – JS Bach                                                           B

The Merry Farmer – R. Schuman                                     C

Prelude #4 in F major — R. Vandall                                C

Followed by peppermint chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate frosting and  white grape juice spritzer

Snowflakes and Klezmer

26 Jan

Saturday Isabelle  and I joined Angela and some others at the Light in Winter Hall of Wonders exhibit as volunteers teaching people how to fold and cut snowflakes.  Those are some of the snowflakes in the photo taped to the window.

Then Isabelle and I went to rehearsal.  She then was off to a meeting with the pumpkin pie she had made on Friday.

I met Angela downtown.  We ate a nice supper at a Thai place on the commons, then went to see, gratis (for being volunteers), the Klezmatics!  They were wonderful.  Great sound board mixer person.   What consummate musicians!  Great music!

Squirrels and a Piano

16 Jan

Jay stopped in at his mom’s after picking the girl up from a 4-H overnight to give her a nice hunk of suet for the woodpeckers.  They have quite a few that eat a lot over there.  Of her own volition, Isabelle decided to hunt some of the squirrels that plague Mom’s bird feeders.  She got the first one with only help locating and loading the .22 bullet. The second one required some fatherly assistance.  But we have two squirrels all ready for the pot now.

Yesterday the Becker upright returned from its trip to the ‘spa’ for replacing, refelting, rebushing, reconditioning, regulation, repair and installation of a humidistat.  The rebuilding cost a bundle; the piano has been with me for over thirty years and at least five moves–it was worth it.  Did not restring, though.  Now to break it in again.  Found two keys that have a raspy noise that will need to be looked at.

The local rebuilder spoke highly of our instrument.  He indicated the technicians kept remarking about how wonderful it was.  Which was nice to hear.   A woman who had decided she did not play it any more put an ad in a local shopper years ago.  I loved its sound and its looks.  Lessons have been taught on it for 20+ years.  I had the hammers  filed once years ago, but lately it had gotten painfully bright sounding, along with other problems of old age and lots of use.

Mr. Jacob H. Becker, the founder of the Becker Bros. piano, was a recognized expert and he trained his associates who sustained the fine character of the house and the instruments of its manufacture. The piano is well known for its tonal quality superior mechanical features and durability. It is representative of the better class of the American piano. Pianos of great merit in which the skill and experience of the makers are clearly evident. Grand pianos worthy of rebuilding.

It is so heavy he brought an extra man to bring it back into the house.  There was lots of cleaning to be done before, during, and after the move as a thaw has started and their feet were wet, muddy and had ashes mixed in.  The rebuilder had asked specifically for ashes to be put on the icy snow path to help them not slip.


3 Dec

Last night Isabelle and I played Jesu Parvule and Some Children See Him while the Wednesday night Advent service attenders sang.  I played the pieces like carols, rather quickly, not as choral arrangements.  Jay said they were hard to sing.  The chords are ‘modern’ so maybe that was part of the reason.  Or maybe I played them too fast.

The service was focusing on responses to the coming of the Christ child.  So in between the carols (it is difficult for me to change from the key of B-flat to E in a moment) I read, with appropriate wicked witchiness, Ursula Fanthorpe’s poem

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger

My gift for the child:

No wife, kids, home;
No money sense. Unemployable.
Friends, yes. But the wrong sort –
The workshy, women, wogs,
Petty infringers of the law, persons
With notifiable diseases,
Poll tax collectors, tarts;
The bottom rung.
His end?
I think we’ll make it
Public, prolonged, painful.

Right, said the baby. That was roughly
What we had in mind.

Music and Books

28 Nov

Isabelle bought Owl City.  We listen to it a lot.  It has that 80’s disco/synth sound, but with dynamics!  Remember Jean Michel Jarre ? I think I got rid of his albums this year.  They went to the book sale.  That and disco music is what Owl City music reminds me of.  Lots of layers with dynamics.

But the lyrics!  They are fun.  They are witty. They bear listening over time.  For pop music, a definite plus.

The Fireflies song in particular made me cry when brother Jay was declining. The part about dreaming the world stood still.  I was wishing it would.

Planet Narnia was such a wonderful book I bought it.  Medieval cosmology in Lewis’ Narnia series “discovered” by PhD student Michael Ward.  He invented a new word,  “donegality”,  to express the use of an atmospheric (pun) motif throughout a story without the author directly indicating its use.

Soon after that, friend Amy told me about Eifelheim, by another Michael, M. Flynn.  This book also has to do with medieval cosmology, though in a more science fiction way.  A great, great sci-fi story about alien first contact.  Back in the 1300’s in Germany.  During the plague.  When Christianity was the European worldview.

Ah, Angela is here.


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