Background Music

Posted by me on Sunday, the 24th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 12:21 AM, local time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as we go through life, we each should have a piano player following us around with a huge piano playing wonderful piano music. I’ve always enjoyed piano music, and I think it would make great background music. I am of the opinion that piano music is all that is sufficient and necessary to completely express the entire range of human emotion and mood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy other instrumentation as well, and would not happily do without a full orchestra for many wonderful pieces of music, but a piano’s music is so simple, elegant, beautiful, and yet still capable of such subtlety and richness that if I had to choose a single instrument to follow me around, it must be the piano. As it is, I often have piano music playing in the background anyway, but to have a real piano playing the music is so much better.

Now, I just have to find a piano player…

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Beethoven Symphonies for piano, four hands.

Posted by me on Saturday, the 16th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 10:14 PM, local time.

Beethoven composed some great symphonies. Each and every one of them, I can listen to again and again, and I learn to appreciate them more and more each time. My particular favorite is the 9th, with full orchestra and choral. Its just spectacular, especially the fourth movement (as cliche as it sounds…). But, the fifth is also very excellent.

Recently on MPR (Classical Minnesota Public Radio – Streaming free online!), I heard a snippet of a rendition of the fifth symphony of Beethoven arranged for four hands on a grand piano. It was rather spectacular, and I immediately started searching for a recording. Unfortunately, I was unable to find one anywhere! I contacted the radio show, and apparently it was the radio host, who is also a composer and pianist, playing with someone else from the radio studio for the express purpose of the radio show. I was devastated! I did find the arrangement itself, Nos. 1-5 and Nos. 6-9, which I am sure I will buy sometime here. The problem with those, of course, is that as much as I would like to learn (and as much as my sister has offered to teach me), I cannot play piano. And I only have two hands! Pam offered to play the other half, but still, I cannot play, and so it wouldn’t be a very good thing that resulted.

Having said all that, if anyone knows of a good set of recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies arranged for piano, four hands, I would surely like to learn about it. Also, if there are some great piano players out there, who know someone else who can play the other half with them, and they’d like to record this and make it available for my listening enjoyment, that’d just be great.

Until then, I will just mourn silently. And remember.

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Edvard Grieg and his Lyric Pieces

Posted by me on Sunday, the 31st day of December, anno domini 2006 at 7:21 PM, local time.

Edvard Grieg was an amazing composer and pianist from somewhere in Scandinavia at some point in the past (what do I look like, an encyclopedia? Go look it up yourself, I just gave you the link!)

I have always been a fan of his music, ever since I first heard In the Hall of the Mountain King. And sure, the Peer Gynt Suites and such are very nice. Still enjoy them immensely.

But, recently, I have fallen in love with the Lyric Pieces, Books 1-10. They sound so simple and yet evoke such beautiful emotion, ranging from anger to happiness to sadness. Since I had a difficult time finding them quick on Amazon, I went through the short trouble of creating a wish list to make them easier to buy. These fourteen low priced CDs contain a lot of piano music by Grieg, including some renditions of the Suites for piano as well. All are played by the same guy (I think. Most of them are anyway.), Einar Steen-N�kleberg. The guy is pretty good, as far as I can tell.

Anyway, Vols. 8, 9, and 10 are the Lyric Pieces. I particular enjoy Vol. 10, mostly because of Book 8, (Op. 65), which concludes with Wedding in Troldhaugen, which was brought to my attention by some of my friends using it in their wedding. Its this sort of stuff that makes me really wish I had bothered to learn to play the piano.

And! Who know YouTube had so much piano music? And music of all sorts? It seems its a great place to find new music for someone like me, who loves piano music from old dead guys whose copyrights have all since expired. My post earlier is another good example of the gems of YouTube. Some of the music is of rather low recording quality, and some from people who’s talent leaves a bit to be desired (not that I can talk much about that), but by and large there are some very talented people out there. Some other great Grieg examples from YouTube to capture someone’s interest:

Anyway, thats all for this year. Gotta run to a small gathering that will hopefully have wine and other good stuff to drink. See ya in 2007!

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The Amateur, or, Way Too Much Time On His Hands

Posted by me on Sunday, the 31st day of December, anno domini 2006 at 1:01 PM, local time.

Here is something I was going to post about some weeks back, when Kyle (the Mauian) sent me the link. I forgot. Then I was reminded to post about it after Adam posted an article about people with way too much time on their hands. That, of course, was over two weeks ago, and once again, I forgot.

Anyway, this YouTube video is what I wanted to post about. The Amateur is where this nobody records himself pressing some keys on the piano and banging on some drums. Then, through the magic of modern video editing, he resequences the video into something truly amazing. You should go check it out!

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