Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:23 pm
You hear some music you hate. That's fair. We all do on occasion. But can you learn to love — or at least not loathe — that music? Can you intentionally transform the visceral response you have to certain pieces and styles, or does that happen at some more incalculable, subtle level?
Researchers at Australia's University of Melbourne say that the more dissonance (which they describe as "perceived roughness, harshness, unpleasantness, or difficulty in listening to the sound") that we hear in music, the less we enjoy said music. Seems obvious enough, right?
Over the years of listening to the San Antonio International Piano Competition, I've noticed that nerves play an important part. Just enough, and a performance can be charged with excitement, too much, and disaster awaits.
With the competitors narrowed from 11 to eight, the stakes are higher, and that could help the judges separate the best as the competition continues.
Lasting works that are so much a part of our lives and the general culture have often had the most improbable origins; it is one of music's greatest ironies.
The arduous birth of Wagner’s "The Ring" is the stuff of legends, and decades of work, sacrifice and immense debt. Berlioz' "Les Troyens" was a desperate, singular throw of the dice urged on by his correspondence with Liszt's mistress and his lifelong love of Virgil. But what about Verdi’s overwhelmingly popular "Rigoletto"? What happened there?
Visitors to the Alamo were greeted by some mid-day busking (street performing) yesterday morning. Dotan Negrin has been hauling his upright piano all across the country for more than two years, performing on streets from New York to here in San Antonio.
Parked illegally next to the Alamo, Negrin unloaded his Baldwin piano from a fire-engine red van.
The compact upright piano has a laminated map velcroed to one side showing all the places Negrin has gone on his travels.
Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 10:52 am
From Christopher Purves' bottomless bass voice and the soaring Sibelius Fifth to a violist's new take on the Baroque, it's this week's list of albums we can't stop listening to. Got a favorite album you've had on repeat lately? Let us know about it the comments section.
After five Academy Award nominations, composer Alexandre Desplat is one of the busiest musicians in Hollywood today. In 2012 alone, he scored six features and one short film, scoring another nomination this year for his work on Ben Affleck’s award-winning film, “Argo.”
I've seen contestants in piano competitions play some large and impressive works when trying to stand out from their other competitors. Big and difficult works like Liszt's "b minor sonata" or Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" are sure to get the judges attention, but there is also the fear of losing the audience.
It is not easy programming your first set at a competition. This week on The Piano, we visit more recordings from last October's San Antonio International Piano Competition.There are only two big and challenging works on the program.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 1:31 pm
Pioneering American conductor, National Medal of Arts winner and poet James DePreist died early this morning in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 76 years old. His death, his manager told Deceptive Cadence, stemmed from complications following a heart attack he suffered nearly a year ago.