piano

There are times when we can connect — surprisingly deeply — with a stranger, and then never see them again. A missed connection. A while ago, we asked you to call in with your "missed connections" stories, and let us help you find that person.

Greta Pane called in about an encounter she had through the wall of a piano practice room almost 20 years ago.

Pianist Glenn Gould rocketed to fame in 1955 with his startling and original take on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Gould's fans were treated to a remake of Goldbergs in 1982, when he released a slower-paced rendition just before his untimely death. But it's that first, rapid fire 1955 recording that continues to captivate audiences.

The intrepid pianist Marc-André Hamelin has a reputation for embracing the toughest, strangest music. His new recording of For Bunita Marcus by Morton Feldman is a fine example. For nearly 75 minutes the music never rises above a whisper and the damper pedal is always pressed down, allowing single notes to ring out into vast, silent spaces.

WASO Records

If you want to start a fight at a ragtime concert, start mucking with the tempo of the music. YouTube videos are full of comments about how fast or slow the pianist is playing any particular piece. The King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin, himself wrote “it is never right to play Ragtime fast.” But how fast is fast? There are piano roll recordings of Joplin himself clocking in the “Maple Leaf Rag” at around 100 beats per minute.

Twenty Cliburn quarterfinalists are down to 12 in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. 

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