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May edition              upcoming events:
June 5
Devin Arrington's studio violin recital
June 12
Musicians with a Mission: @Cumberland Woods with
                violinist Devin Arrington
June 19
Juneteenth/Solstice Celebration with East End Song Studios
June 24  5 p.m.    organ recital @ Westminster Presbyterian
                                                    in Upper St. Clair, PA             
This Week's Featured Recording: for Friday, May 14

Sonata no. 5 in D
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47)

articles from around the pianoverse....

Have piano, will travel
 (the piano, I mean)


This afternoon I have another gig at an area home for seasoned citizenry. I recently signed up for a Pittsburgh program that does this, and played my first program last month.

You may have noticed I don't line my website with testimonies or a biography. You know, the kind of biographies that usually begin "so and so is one of the leading voices of his/her generation" and include adjectives like "in demand" and "active" or, if the pianist in question is writing for more general audiences (you did know we generally write our own bios right? Well, the secret's out now), phrases like "has dazzled audiences around the world from an early age." Or testimonies from excited customers who bought the product and it transformed their lives.

But here are a couple of things I wanted to share from my program two weeks ago.

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"classic" blog: from May 14, 2014

The Birds
They're coming.

Actually, they're already here.

The little devils.

If I was a little winged creature, I would probably want to settle under the eaves too. The north end of our sanctuary is practically built like a bird high-rise. All those lovely apartments just waiting for the enterprising sparrow to make a nest. I wouldn't be surprised if some bird already owned the place and was charging tenants to live there. One bedroom apartments with lovely view. Close to everything. Lots of cars in easy pooping distance every Sunday, Unfurnished--you have to build your own nest.

The problem with all this is they can be loud neighbors.

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After years of playing the organ at Faith UMC in Champaign, Illinois, I discovered an incredible secret. Dan Brown has yet to write a book about this but, (hold your breath) inside a crevice in the console of our organ was an amazing find. It was a map...to the organ! (It may have been left by a secret French brotherhood in the 5th century--or our organ builder; I'm not sure).

What you see on Sunday morning as you look above the altar are only a few of the pipes which belong to the organ. It's probably about a quarter of the instrument. These pipes are "on display" which is where the French got the term "montre," but the Germans call them "principles" and the English "foundations."....behind those pipes, some of which belong to the upper keyboard, some to the lower, and some to the pedal..., there are three rooms filled with pipes that you've never gotten to see...until now.

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X marks the Bombard!

first posted Friday, June 27, 2014


It's Only the Truth If You Can Yell the Loudest

Brahms writes a letter to the editor

People always find something to squabble about...even that "universal" language called music. In fact, be particularly suspicious whenever you see people referring to it as a universal language. Usually what that means is that people are under the assumption that the things they value in music are universally good, and the things they don't care for are universally bad.  They may cite the very fundamental laws of the universe as justification, or the immovable wall of custom.

Why am I bringing this up? Because just such a debate raged in musical Germany in the 19th century. And one of the principle characters was a young man. Perhaps you've heard of him. His name was Johannes Brahms.

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