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June edition              upcoming events:

June 19
Juneteenth/Solstice Celebration with East End Song Studio

June 24  5 p.m.    organ recital @ Westminster Presbyterian
                                                    in Upper St. Clair, PA             

This Week's Featured Recording: for Friday, June 11 I'm on the road this week, in Ohio. And though my next organ recital isn't for nearly two weeks, I'm heavily into preparations. The other day I was keeping a charming Casavant company when I recorded this little movement that Bach arranged from the manuscript of his royal employer's nephew. The lad passed away at the tender age of 18, but not before he gave us this delightful little romp. I had previously used a more festive and full registration for this piece, but the organ's characteristic foundations and tasty tierce changed my mind, at least this time!


Concerto in G: III. Vivace
by
Johann Ernst von Saxe-Weimar (1696-1715)
arranged by J. S. Bach (1685-1750)




articles from around the pianoverse....

The Mad Composer


One enduring idea that people often have about artists is that genius and insanity are closely linked. It seems like a pretty self-serving idea which may account for its popularity. After all, if people who are geniuses, and therefore far above the ordinary orbits of regular folk, are also more than a little crazy, which is something to which no one aspires, than at the very least things come out even. More likely, if a wish-granting genii could make you a genius but would also have to make you insane, you could be pardoned for saying ‘no thanks!” and preferring to remain just an ordinary, perfectly respectable, sane, societally-sanctioned human being.  Now don’t you feel better about not taking those piano lessons? No telling where they were going to lead.

On the other hand, the myth’s popularity might have a simpler explanation. People tend to remember the sensational, not the ordinary. There have been great gobs of great artists with perfectly ordinary lives, who at best seem a little eccentric to their contemporaries, but who do not attempt suicide by throwing themselves into rivers, winding up in insane asylums, and die there. And then there is Robert Schumann. Or was.

 

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Piano vs. Organ (part 3)


 

We get tourists, sometimes. Or visitors. In any case, a young woman walked into our sanctuary one afternoon while I was practicing the organ and decided to ask the question that was pressing on her mind: which is harder to play, the piano or the organ?

She did not, it seems, want a complicated answer.

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Even great composers are human beings. Which, alas, makes them pretty irrational. So much so that many of them didn't wait around for the advent of psychoanalysis to be born, write great works, throw themselves into rivers, and die. What would Freud have to say about all this? You'll have to ask him. This essay's only concern is the relatively tame case of Felix Mendelssohn.


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Not bad, for a five-year old

 

Mozart's first Compositions

 

"For me, the miracle is not that Mozart was only five when he wrote these pieces. For one thing, it is not certain how much of these pieces were truly his idea, and how much his father's. That is really not the point. The point is that young Mozart was able to absorb and imitate, to begin making compositional decisions, and ultimately, to find not only his voice, but to write effectively in a number of styles and fashions and so make music the world is still talking about, and more importantly, listening to. These five pieces are not the great masterpieces of his later years; they might, in spots, already show us some superior musical apprehension, but they are not great. They are, however, very nicely done, especially if you are only five. Even if you are twenty-five. "

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