Tag Archives: piano

If you find yourself with a quiet ten minutes…

…walking in the park, or maybe at home just lying down and thinking, listen to this and see where it takes you. And then at the end when he finishes…the silence afterwards as the real world slowly filters back into your awareness. Beautiful.

Andras Schiff is the pianist in this, Schubert’s Impromptu in F minor no.1. Don’t skip through it – the end doesn’t make sense without the beginning. Which is kind of true for many things.

Thiago Pethit and friends, singing Não se vá on Sao Paulo’s Minhocao

“We still had in mind the idea of doing a Sao Paulo-style cabaret, with a piano in the middle, and we thought we ought to take it out into the street. But not just any old street – the Minhocao, that famous and much detested motorway that cuts through the heart of the city and is transformed into a huge playground every Sunday when it is closed to traffic.”

A beautiful selection by Thiago Pethit for Blogotheque. See all three pieces they filmed on the day here.

The piano man – Gonzalez (lots to listen to)

Before we start, I just need to take a moment to acknowledge this man’s fantastic arty scowly eyebrows and general coiffure. Very French(Canadian).

So, Chilly Gonzales (actually Jason Beck), taught himself piano aged three, classically trained at McGill University in Canada. His first band to get much play was Son, which was doing okay-ish with Warner Brothers until their difficult-second-album, which was too different (and had a song called “Making a Jew Cry” on it, which is…probably hard to sell to commercial audiences).

In 1999 he skipped off to Berlin and started working with the Kitty-Yo label. Did a bunch of rap and some keyboard instrumentals. Did quite well in clubs and festivals. But it wasn’t until 2004 that he kicked off with the stuff I like him for, releasing an album called Solo Piano (his best seller to date).

In the meantime Gonzales continued to develop as a producer and songwriter for other artists, collaborating on singles and albums with Peaches, renowned chanteuse Jane Birkin and budding indie star Leslie Feist. The output of the latter collaboration—Feist’s 2003 album, “Let It Die”– became a bestseller, won critical acclaim and industry awards, and became the basis for her breakthrough as a mainstream pop artist. Gonzales returned as a key contributor on Feist’s 2007 album, “The Reminder”, which was nominated for a Grammy and won a Juno Award.

On May 18, 2009, at the Ciné 13 Théâtre (French), Paris, he broke a world record for the longest solo-artist performance with a total time of 27 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds, breaking a record set by Prasanna Gudi. He does tour, but sells out super-fast, so get tickets the second you get a chance.

Anyway, listen to his stuff, see if you like it. If you like the album stuff, try the live stuff (it’s quite different, even if the songs are the same). Put it on to go to sleep, listen to it when you have a “friend” for a “sleepover”, whack it on the stereo in the car, or on a Sunday morning when you’re reading the papers and making coffee that’s a bit too strong and not quite hot enough. Either way, listen to it. Listen to it and admire his slippers.

Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante (“Elvira Madigan”)

Listen to this. It will go right down inside you, find any feathers that might be ruffled, and smooth them to a glossy, tranquil sheen. Depending on how much coffee you’ve had and what day of the week etc, it may also make you a little bit emotional as you gaze out the window and consider the fragile beauty that is life blah blah.

The famous Andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 is in three parts. The opening section is for orchestra only and features muted strings. The first violins play with a dreamlike melody over an accompaniment consisting of second violins and violas playing repeated-note triplets and the cellos and bass playing pizzicato arpeggios. All of the major melodic material of the movement is contained in this orchestral introduction, in either F major or F minor.

The second section introduces the solo piano and starts off in F major. It is not a literal repeat, though, as after the first few phrases, new material is interjected which ventures off into different keys. When familiar material returns, the music is now in the dominant keys of C minor and C major. More new material in distant keys is added, which transitions to the third section of the movement.

The third section begins with the dreamlike melody again, but this time in A-flat major. Over the course of this final section, the music makes it way back to the tonic keys of F minor and then F major and a short coda concludes the movement.

The second movement was featured in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan. The imagery used in the movie was of a lazy boat ride on a placid lake, and the limpid sound of this movement likely motivated its choice here.

If you can read sheet music, this might be where you want to go. (I didn’t know all that stuff about the music, by the way, it came from Wikipedia)

Insert Coin

Quite simply a ROCKING piece of stop motion by Ninja Moped (they used to call themselves Rymdreglage but for some reason decided it was too difficult to pronounce). Some of it almost looks fake. It’s not. Keep watching to the end of the vid and they’ll tell you how they did it.

In another thing they’re working on, the Piano Project, they plan to build a giant crossbow and use it to shoot pianos into buildings, cars and trees and then film it at super HD. Sounds awesome.

They also do amazing stuff with Lego. Checkit.

Martha Argerich – Scarlatti, sonata k. 141

Martha Argerich (born June 5, 1941) is an Argentine concert pianist. She hates being in the limelight, but is still widely recognized as one of the greatest modern-day pianists. The first hit headlines in 1965 when, ahed 24, she won the seventh International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw with a defiantly confident reading of Chopin’s Etude in C major (Op. 10, No. 1). At the time, besides being already a master pianist, she also conveyed an aura of a nouvelle vague actress, wearing conspicuous mini-skirts and continuously smoking cigarettes.

As critic Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker: “Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brain-teasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.”