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August 23rd edition
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Upcoming events:

Sun. Aug. 25   at Piano Day Pittsburgh, Heinz Hall, 6 p.m.

Sun. Sep. 15   3 p.m. Violin and organ concert
                        with Violinist Devin Arrington
                            at Heinz Chapel, Pittsburgh

this fall's Osher/UPitt class, "Composers in Exile: Music in Adversity" will run from October 17 through November 14   register now at the OLLI website
this week's featured recording for 8.23.19
Song without words, op. 19 #1 in E Major

by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47)

 This week on the blog:    Friday, August 23 2019
pictures from Smith Mountain Lake

the blogger is on vacation this week. But he's not above making you jealous of where you are not. Which is a great way to develop spiritual discipline. So, you're welcome. And, I'm a jerk. But here is why I'm not writing about piano technique this week:


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from Friday, August 17, 2018

Getting Through

Whenever I give a concert for regular folks I get the same pieces of advice: play a variety, keep it short, play stuff they know and like. Also, play Phantom of the Opera.

This can be a little disconcerting if you are a classical pianist, but over the years I've developed several ways to make even some pretty heavy repertoire go down favorably. I've found you don't have to pander in order to be successful. Which is a good thing, since I'd like to do more than scratch the same limited musical itches all the time. But I do understand people's fears that I might tie people to chairs and make them listen to the complete works of Beethoven and that it might be long and boring. I get it.

A couple of months ago...

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first posted May 29, 2019

If I had a marketing bone in my body, or paid much attention to what is going on in the entertainment world at the moment, I would have realized that there is a new movie about Liberace out there somewhere, and with it, naturally, there is going to be some interest in its star. So, naturally, my website has been getting quite a few hits from people who are wondering how good a pianist Liberace really was, and, luckily for my google-rankings challenged self, I happen to have addressed the question a few years ago on a page designed to answer the sorts of questions I frequently get asked at concerts.

If you're wondering, he was basically good enough to wow vast segments of the non-musically interested population, and not good enough to bore them with more than they wanted to hear. In other words, he "knew what [his] audience would stand for," as he put it.

He called it "classical music without the boring parts,"...more