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this week's featured recording for Friday, Febuary 3, 2023

Rondo in D
W. A. Mozart 

...So Where Was I?

Pianonoise has recently lain dormant for several months for the second time in its 21-year history. The first time was after--only after--a bout with cancer, when one final obstacle--being unable to upload the site due to software and unannounced hosting changes--proved too much and I gave up on the enterprise for a year. It was a dark time for me, in a new city with no job and no acquaintances, and it really did not seem necessary to try to keep a website warm in the hopes that anonymous persons from distant regions might occasionally find my effusions useful.

The second time is not entirely dissimilar. Coming out of the pandemic--again, only after (if there is an after) I haven't had the urge to pursue an extra-local public persona. In this I seem to have plenty of company. A number of websites, podcasts, and other web-based productions have been slowing their offerings lately, or halting them altogether. We may all be, in one way or another, gathering strength after some very difficult years. The rewards of making our labor for the uncertain entertainment of unknown individuals (or bots) from places far, for no tangible gain, and perhaps for no gain at all, does, at some point, seem like a thing that can be trimmed when spiritual budget cuts become necessary just to maintain one's well-being.

This column does signal a return to new material on Pianonoise, though I do not promise to do it weekly, as before, or even regularly. It may be that I will update the homepage monthly, as in the early days of the site, or simply post things in an irregular manner, whenever there seems to be something to share. I have noticed over the years that the number of visitors does not seem to change much with or without regular updates, and that the homepage, which receives most of the most rigorous effort, is far from the thing most people are here to read (that is generally a handful of permanent essays which have been parked in the site's interior for years and do not receive regular maintenance).

Over the years I have found it easier to maintain the site in connection with my three-dimensional life (IRL). The materials here often form a kind of bonus track to what I do offline, as, for instance, when I play a concert and recordings of myself playing the music are available for anyone who would like to hear it again, along with commentary I may not have had time for. Persons who have not, and may never, connect to me in person are obviously welcome, but for some reason it is harder to imagine them as a primary audience, probably because I have no idea who they are or what they are seeking, and they can't react to what I've presented until after I've posted it. And with a world as wide as music for the piano and organ, I often need some semblance of direction provided by a concert schedule or gigs or church services or classes. I'm pretty multifarious, and it helps to be able to maintain some kind of focus.

With the flesh-and-blood world as a tributary for what you'll find here, it generally helps if I have a plan for that. Recently I have become the full-time Choir Director and Organist at a church in the Pittsburgh area, and since that involves playing the organ, there will, no doubt, be a continued exploration of the organ literature as well as writings on same, and topics that connect with the life of a church musician. The piano, ever in danger or fading into the background, nevertheless has reason to rejoice. There are plans in the works for that instrument as well.

My blog, having been unwritten in for about two years now, contains, as a parting shot, the announcement that I had migrated to video (as if anyone not from the Jurassic thinks that is somehow a big deal). Despite no obvious evidence of the genre's mastery, I have at this point created over a dozen videos featuring piano playing, and plans for a Youtube channel continue apace. I am, however, content to wait until I have enough time and content so that regular deadlines do not become my master. Look for more imbedded videos of streamed concerts on this site, nonetheless. It does make our musical lives a bit easier now that showing up to play a recital is enough to have an internet ready recording by way of everyone's livestreams now instead of having to see to that yourself.

Meanwhile, I'm trying some new software to administer pianonoise, so I'll try to keep the glitches to a minimum, but you never know. It seems half of our city is under construction these days so why shouldn't my cybercity experience some of the same disarray? Well, that wouldn't be very nice for you, so I'll try to keep it behind the scenes. And if you experience any mayhem, why, that's just your tax dollars at work. Or whatever.

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