Dave Brubeck heard this rhythm played by Turkish musicians on the street and was intrigued by it. When talking with one of the musicians he was told, "To us, this is what blues is to you." That is where the title came from and the foundation for the piece. The Turkish melodic hook sounds almost classical to our ears and then the piece moves into a great blues feel. Also check out the recording on Brubeck's album, Time Out.
Banned at times in the WWI era for criticizing the Soviet regime, yet admired by Stalin himself. Maria Yudina's playing mimicks her personality. Free, somewhat rebellious, muscular, and reinventing. It is fitting that she recorded this at a time in 1962 a year Stravinsky was finally invited back to the U.S.S.R. after 30 years of having been banned himself. Yudina is a pianist worth listening to and in addition to Stravinsky, has brilliant recordings of Liszt and Bartok
Do you ever feel that way about performances. It is like the anxiety takes over our body. We try to relax. We try to remember what we've prepared to do. But, something just makes us tense up and the more we think about the possibility that we'll tense up and make a mistake makes us tense up even more. What do you do?
Here is a great article on dealing with and coping with performance stress. There is no magic cure, but knowing we all deal with it in various ways can be an encouragement. Check out the article here.
Even a seven-time Grammy award winner still has to practice and doesn't always find it fun. In his words, it's sometimes "kind of a slog." But, this great pianist has several suggestions to make practicing more enjoyable and still productive.
Before Spotify, iTunes, and compact discs. Even before the 33 1/3 rpm LP's were the 78 rpm record discs. In the 1930's Horowitz recorded many of these with short pieces such as Chopin mazurkas and etudes, Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, and other shorter works by Debussy, Poulenc, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, and others. Perhaps the very best is the 1930 performance of the Paganini-Liszt-Busoni Etude in E flat. The control over technique is astounding. This is the etude that Arthur Rubinstein heard Horowitz play in 1926 and wrote about in his memoirs: "I shall never forget the two Paganini-:Liszt etudes, the E flat and E major ones. There was more than sheer brilliance and technique; there was an easy elegance-the magic that defies description." Horowitz was a technical monster, but along with this technical mastery is a simple elegance that is unmatched.
In Great Pianists I'll highlight inspiring and challenging interviews with pianists from the past and present. #pianists, #piano
Another enjoyable school year of accompanying some great repertoire. Of course, there were many other great pieces that could be added to this list of solo repertoire with church, choral accompanying, Wisconsin Choral Directors Association performances, and jazz vocal ensembles.