Archive for the ‘anecdote’ Category

stay-at-home baricades

April 18, 2020

Recording oneself at home is now an accepted thing that musicians (including harpsichordists!) do, who are stranded at home with their concerts canceled. Below is a link to my after-dinner version of François Couperin’s rather mysterious baricades. The meaning of the title of the piece from his second book of Pieces de Clavecin remains unknown, according to the Wikipedia article, although there are a number of possibilities of varying degrees of juiciness.

The challenge of this not-frightfully-difficult piece is to find a balance between the indication Vivement and not playing so fast that the harpsichord begins to sound like a mechanical 18th-century toy.

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you- and other -tubes

June 10, 2010

A post-lunch attack of ego-googling (we all do it, why not admit it) a few minutes ago brought forward a selection of material stored in various other locations that clearly has been borrowed from this very website. So, for example, some helpful spirit uploaded my versions of the anonymous “Barafostus’ Dream”, Morley’s “Nancy” and Fux’s “Ciaccona” on Youtube, correctly identifying me as the performer but omitting the source. Since (as I have explained in an earlier post) the original CD that contained these pieces has a specific sound profile due to poor filtering of some kind, I am quite positive the material was copied from my “Recordings” page on this blog.

I am aware of the mechanics of open-access publishing, and I wouldn’t like my comment here to be seen as a complaint. I will mention nevertheless that the material here, albeit freely available, is (naturally) my property. I sign for it, I have to answer for it, and hence, it is under my personal copyright. The least you can do if your mouse-finger itches to drag and drop things from here to somewhere else is to properly cite the source and mention the date you accessed it. If you’re unsure about how to do this, drop me a line and I’ll assist you.

This applies to all content, no matter whether it’s pictures, text, text snippets, or bits of music.

Thanks for your (to be anticipated) consideration.

faithful amz

May 26, 2010

One of my years-old ideas about Beethoven’s piano playing is that it developed from, roughly said, “impetuous-youthful-but-rough” via “virtuosic-professional” to “stepwise declining”. First signs of that “decline” can be seen in documents from around 1800. Clear indications date from 1805 and onward.

This view is not so much based on my innate perseverance in the making of claims, but rather on the circumstance that I spent my time returning to the canonic documents about Beethoven’s playing, re-reading, re-organizing and re-interpreting their meaning (at that moment and over time). Unbelievable that a perfectly accessible passage in a very well known body of source material (the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung from Leipzig) has escaped my (and – it seems – most Beethoven scholars’) attention. It beautifully summarizes what I have tried to establish:

AMZ Zehnter Jahrgang, No. 19, 3 February 1808 p. 303. In a review of the trio Op. 2 by Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven’s former student, we find the following passage:

“Mr. R. is the last, and in fact perhaps the only pupil mr. v. Beethoven consented to take on, and whom he kept here in Vienna for some time also for the following reason; that he played his (Beethoven’s) piano concertos and other important works in public, which the composer himself no longer liked to do, [who has] in fact really neglected himself regarding his playing for several years.” (more…)

first CD production remembered

January 8, 2009

Yesterday I uploaded some samples from the completely remastered version of a CD that was issued in 1993 under the somewhat juvenile title Three harpsichords Seven composers (see here for the uploads). The idea of the original production, initiated by a friend who also provided the contacts, was to combine several harpsichordy instruments (a 2-manual French, a 5-octave 1-manual Italian and a pentagonal virginal) and a selection of suitable repertoire in a sampler fashion which he had seen and liked in a CD production with historical organs.

This disk has been sold out for years. Last year I bought the recording tapes, the master CD and the rights. My friend Erik Sikkema has now made a complete new edition from the selected takes.

Why all this effort, one could ask. Many musicians are actually not very interested in their old recordings – I would characterize my own interest in my early efforts as “mild” at best. But this production is different – it is my first solo CD. It is also different in that it came out of the editing process quite battered and bent. Here’s the story. (more…)

names

December 17, 2008

In September, I participated in a program that was called Music of the 18th century at European Courts. This all-embracing title reminds me a bit of a flimsy book in my possession called Chinese cooking, or the yet to be written twenty-page ‘Guide to Western Philosophy’, not to mention the greatly anticipated fifty-page (because of the photos) ‘ history of the automobile in the 20th and 21st centuries’. (Nicholas Cook’s Music: A Very Short Introduction, on the other hand, is quite readable in spite of its mere 137 pages sans notes.)

We teased the leader-planner of our orchestra a lot about this – especially since about half of the program consisted of music from Bach’s cantatas. (more…)

the green dragon hide

August 10, 2008

The day before yesterday, we went to our friends Maria and Gabriel for a lovely dinner and came home with a new dragon hide for my French Double. Gabriel plays the baroque violin, invents stuff and sells this, and other violinist’s supplies, on his website (look at http://shop.stringking.net/ and you’ll get an idea).

His latest adventure is the development of the harpsichord cover to end all harpsichord covers. (more…)

travel report

May 22, 2008

Although I have been reading a book about writing, I am now having a hard time getting started on this post. Why did I read a book about writing? Because I was traveling and had to fill some event-less periods of time: on the boat between Göteborg and Kiel, in numerous trains and before and during recording sessions. Some other activities besides traveling and recording required a kind of private brand of mindfulness instead of reading and will not be mentioned here.

One of the tasks I had in Bremen, first stop, was to finalize the voicing and regulation of Martin Skowroneck’s No. 89, a five-octave French 2manual harpsichord. (more…)