Tag Archives: Piano
Video of the Week: 45 Minutes of Ecstasy for Lovers of Chopin
Creative Juice #296
So many of these articles touch my heart.
- He knew his mom died in a fire on September 11, 2001, but he didn’t understand what that meant.
- Young piano prodigy.
- This artist does an amazing job of hand-lettering Bible verses.
- A creative approach to environmental and homelessness activism.
- Simplify, and enjoy better quality of life.
- That time Beethoven was arrested by cops who didn’t believe he was who he said he was. Oh, and the Ode to Joy.
- The story of a quilt. I love how Frances journeyed from inspiration to completion.
- A stroll in Jersey City, complete with murals and art.
- Visit to a quilt show.
- From photography to watercolor.
- I love to watch Kelly draw.
- Sketching on location.
Not the movie (which I’ve never seen, but heard was awful), but the phenomenon.
But first, who was Franz Liszt, and what was so special about him?
Allysia van Betuw tells the story of the Hungarian composer and pianist who lived from 1811-1886 so well:
And here’s the rest of the story:
Here is Lang Lang playing Liszt’s La Companella. Lang Lang is a showman himself, just as Liszt was. In this performance, his hands are sometimes a blur:
Another of my favorite pianists, Valentina Lisitsa, plays the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
Liszt’s work often forces pianists to stretch their fingers wide. His chords are often awkward to play, difficult to position the fingers. They require the musician to take extraordinary care to avoid tension in the hands and fingers, which can cause nerve injuries.
The Rondo Fantastique “El Contrabandista” has the reputation of being unplayable, but Lisitsa does an impressive job:
Kathia Buniatishvili plays Liebestraum (Dream of Love). It is dreamlike, isn’t it?
Buniatishvili playing Mephisto Waltz:
Franz Liszt was a rock star before there was rock. Very handsome, he had a remarkable stage presence, whipping his long hair around as he played. His skilled musicianship and highly emotional renditions stirred his audiences with intense admiration. Lisztomania is a term coined by the German poet Heinrich Heine in 1844 for the frenzy that broke out whenever Liszt performed. During the 1840s, when he was at the height of his popularity, his audiences would go as far as tearing off pieces of his clothing, and fought to pick up his cigar butts (which women would promptly hide in their cleavage) and his used coffee grounds. His image was reproduced on cameos and brooches. (Liszt merch!)
Creative Juice #263
Beautiful things to look at, and hints for the creative lifestyle.
- They don’t make things the way they used to. Manufacturers purposely make goods with a limited lifespan so that we have to replace them and they can make more money. How do we combat the throwaway lifestyle?
- Photogenic pets.
- For the writers: set your daily intentions.
- Parenting is hard! Action points for getting through the tough spots (i.e. every day).
- Doodling on the piano.
- Internet romance.
- Write a novella for NaNoWriMo.
- How are quilters like athletes?
- 3D embroidery.
- How to draw and paint a mushroom, step by step.
- Watercolor streetscapes.
- I’ve been following Amy Cowen on Instagram for years. I love the faces she draws.
Video of the Week #324: Chopsticks
Two of my favorite pianists being ridiculously sublime. Lang Lang and Jon Batiste.
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist who profoundly influenced music in the romantic era. He is one of the most beloved composers of piano music ever. His works are favorites of audiences and critics, and pianists beginner through professional level.
Vladimir Horowitz: Introduction and Rondo by Chopin:
He was born in Warsaw, and in 1831 moved to Paris, where he lived the rest of his life, except for travels. He never married, but had a long-term, often troubled relationship with the writer George Sand.
Lang Lang: Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 by Chopin:
He was a renowned performer and a sought-after teacher. He maintained friendships with some of the top musicians of his day, including Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann.
Yundi Li: “Fantasie” Impromptu Op. 66 by Chopin:
Sickly for most of his life, he passed away at age 39.
Valentina Lisitsa: Etude Op. 10 No. 12 (Revolutionary) by Chopin:
His output, mostly for solo piano, was prodigious: 4 ballades, 27 études, 4 impromptus, 59 mazurkas, 22 nocturnes, 16 polonaises, 28 preludes, 4 rondos, 4 scherzos, 3 sonatas, 9 variations, 19 waltzes, 2 concertos, 19 songs, and many miscellaneous pieces.
Umi Garrett: Grande Valse Brilliante Op. 18 No. 1 by Chopin:
Video of the Week #307: Lenny Kravitz Designs a Steinway
Carl Czerny: Pianist, Composer, and Piano Teacher
Carl Czerny was born in Vienna, Austria, on February 21, 1791, to parents of Czech heritage. His father was an oboist, organist, and pianist. Carl showed musical talent early, beginning to play piano at age three and starting to compose at seven. His father was his first teacher. His first performance, at age nine, was the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24.
When Czerny was ten, the Czech composer and violinist Wenzel Krumpholz arranged for the boy to meet Ludwig van Beethoven, who asked him to play the Pathetique sonata and Adelaide. He was impressed with the boy’s playing and agreed to take him on as a student. Czerny premiered Beethoven’s first and fifth piano concertos and maintained a friendship with him for the rest of his life.
At age fifteen, Czerny began teaching piano, basing his method on those of Beethoven and Muzio Clementi. His best-known pupil was Franz Liszt, who came to him with weird technique and awkward movements, but also with obvious talent.
After 1840, Czerny worked exclusively on composition, producing many books of piano exercises in addition to solo piano pieces, chamber music, sacred choral music, and symphonic works.
What Lang Lang says about Czerny’s exercises:
Vladimir Horowitz plays Czerny: Rode Variations
Grand Concerto in A minor:
Information for this article came from Wikipedia.
Video of the Week #247: B is for Beethoven Concert for an Elephant
Pianist Paul Barton writes:
Mongkol is a 61-year-old former logging elephant. His captive-held life was spent hauling trees in the Thai forest. His body shape is deformed through hard labor, he lost his right eye and tusk in this brutal logging practice. Mongkol was rescued and brought to Elephants World to spend the rest of his days relaxing peacefully in freedom by the River Kwai. I discovered Mongkol is an extremely gentle, sensitive elephant who enjoys music, especially this slow movement by Beethoven which I play to him occasionally in the day and night.