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this is supposed to be a picture of my two hands on a piano keyboard
New recording every Tuesday
  Index of MP3 recordings

The Practice Room
(part one)

Practice your vegetables! 
a.k.a., eat your scales

 before you can't get that song out of your head you have to put it in there

Everyone's a critic (hopefully)
deciding it's not up to par is a prelude for making it better

"I can't get no....motivation." That's it, isn't it?

Obstacle course
take 37...

The Courage to go to lunch
You have to know when to work hard and when not to work hard

 simple gifts

 an essay on some of the gifts musicians might have and their worth in the eyes of the rest of the population

 Don't your fingers get tired?

A question and answer page for the curious...

this is supposed to be a picture of some dude playing the piano in front of a stained glass window!
 Wedding pages
These are some of my former piano students from Baltimore. Can't see them? sorry about that.
 for students:
 Musical Games 

 Erasmus's blog:
In Praise of Chicken

 Mike's Ballpark
 hotdog review

The Global
Hall of Fame

This week's featured recording:

The player will then advance to the concert program below. 
Lord of the Dance

In 1963 Sydney Carter put words to the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts" about the life of Christ as a dance. It isn't always sung in churches, where dancing is sometimes frowned upon ("the holy people said it was a shame"), but it has caught on in some of them, and, having, as my friend Norm would put it "too much fun," I played this as a going away postlude my last Sunday at Faith. It will, along with a handful of other hymns, make its way to the listening room at pianonoise eventually, part of my final fling with the organ's playback system which enables me to play piano and organ duets with myself. This one was improvised one afternoon when I was feeling particularly fine, just a few days before that service. If you know the hymn text, some of the stranger musical touches will make sense.

 Upcoming events:  Moving to Pittsburgh: May 31
Classic Blog   (updated May 24)  
from the concert hall... Monday 5/6/13
Now and again  
Gabrielle Faure uses flashback technique
from the teaching studio... Wednesday 5/8/13
The case of the missing measures 
In summary, he made it a bit shorter
from the organ bench... Friday 5/10/13
Did Massenet really mean that chord or should I improve it for him?
for May 24

 "The Spanish Hour" 

The music of the Iberian peninsula is unique and wonderful, full of drama and pathos, and composed by some very interesting individuals for some peculiarly Spanish instruments.

The  region's first important keyboard composer was Antonio de Cabezon (1510-66). His surname means "pigheaded," though unlike some of his countrymen we know too little of his personal life to conclude whether this suited him. We do know that he spent most of his life blind, and the latter portion in the service of Phillip II, the monarch who ushered in Spain's golden age, and who built the massive palace complex know as El Escorial, though Cabezon died during the early years of its construction.

Juan Cabanilles may be the greatest of the Spanish organ composers, rating the moniker "the Spanish Bach." His majestic Passacalles will show that he earned the title. Cabanilles spent most of his life as organist in the cathedral at Valencia.

A director of the royal chapel in Madrid was one Jose Lidon, who was born two years before Bach died, and lived until the year of Beethoven's death. His sonata sonically illustrates the Spanish propensity for bright, some would say harsh, organ sound, complete with horizontal trumpets (the pipes come straight out of the wall).

The drama of much Spanish music is certainly present in the works of Scarlatti. An Italian by birth, he spent most of his life in the service of the Queen of Spain, writing some 555 sonatas for harpsichord. Although his sonatas sound like they were composed by a fascinating individual, we know next to nothing about his life.

Correa de Araujo had cathedral positions in Seville and Segovia. He seems to have had a predilection for getting involved in lawsuits. One of them delayed his appointment in Seville by several years, another put him in prison. He died in poverty. Araujo, like Cabanilles, was not only an organist, he was ordained priest, and he enjoyed, and defended in writing, harsh dissonances (c against c#, for instance). His Tiento (the term is derived from the Spanish verb for "to try" or "to tempt" or simply "to touch" the keys?) is written for the uniquely Spanish organ where a single keyboard is split in two halves (usually at middle c) with different sound possibilities (stop combinations) for each one. Recording this on a modern American organ required some problem solving!

In the 20th century, pianist-composer Enrique Granados wrote several dances characteristic of various regions of Spain. Unlike the activities of the court, here you will encounter music of the people--a people inclined to vigorous bouts of activity but also languorous siestas under an unforgiving sun, who build massive palatial monuments under command of their king and God, and enjoy a relaxing and raucous party as much as the rest of us.  Granados died one hundred years ago (1916) when on a trip back to Spain from America his ship was sunk by a German submarine during the First World War.

  The program

Tiento no. 1
Antonio de Cabezon

Sonata on the 1st Tone
Jose Lidon

Sonata in f minor, K. 519
Sonata in F, k. 518
Domenico Scarlatti

Tiento de medio registro de tiple setimo tono
Correa de Arauxo

Spanish Dances
no. 1 "Galante-Minuetto"
no. 2
no. 3
no. 4
no. 5
no. 6
"Rondalla aronesa-Jota"
Enrique Granados

Passacalles de 1st tono
Juan Cabanilles

appr. 57 min.