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Digital Piano? Oh No – 100% Analogue!

What happens when innovative acoustical ideas come across a vintage broken piano? Well, Ukrainian musicians transformed it into a unique and completely analog hybrid of 20 different instruments that are each connected and controlled by the piano keys.

The musicians in the band Brunettes Shoot Blondes came up with an idea of making a true analog construction which could play different instruments nested inside the rim just by playing. When pressing a key, the piano hammers beat a marimba, tambourine, cymbals or even castanets. There are also special mechanical devices which allow playing of cello, violins and organ.

Read more at designboom.com

Details about the construction: www.thomann.de/blog/en/bsb-houston/


Destination: Rachmaninov – Departure

Destination: Rachmaninov – Departure, the first installment of a two-part journey, explores Rachmaninov’s Second and Fourth Piano Concertos. In his seventh title as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Daniil Trifonov reunites with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the leadership of music director Yannick NĂ©zet-SĂ©guin.

Watch the accompanying short music film of the Fourth Concerto’s opening movement. Directed by Michael Joseph McQuilken, the film features Daniil playing aboard a train as it navigates through the breathtaking Colorado Rockies.

Listen to the album:


Documentary: In the Footsteps of Debussy

As writer John Terauds puts it; ”
 with the varying styles of Impressionist paintings, the long view represents something defined, but the closer you get, the more his compositions start to fall apart into the individual components that our minds work imperceptibly to piece together into meaningful shapes.”

March 25 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of one of Western music’s revolutionaries whose enormous influence we nowadays tend to take for granted. For the centenary occasion Warner Classics has contributed to both a distant and a close look at Claude Debussy. Their 33-disc set aims to include everything Debussy wrote, from his earliest compositions of 1879-80 to the late sonatas composed during the first world war. The compilation also contains his own transcriptions and arrangements of his music made by contemporaries during his lifetime. The vast material is presented chronologically within each genre and also includes minor pieces recorded for the first time. As a historical appendix, one disc contains Debussy’s own performances from piano rolls probably made in 1913. Here we find some PrĂ©ludes and the Children’s Corner suite, and with singer Mary Garden in the Verlaine settings of Ariettes OubliĂ©es and from his opera PellĂ©as et MĂ©lisande.

As a part of the project Warner Classics has produced a three-part documentary series named ”In the Footsteps of Debussy”. The series was filmed at the composer’s birthplace Maison Claude Debussy in Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris and features contributions from noted Debussy scholars and performers.

In the Footsteps of Debussy – Part 1
In the Footsteps of Debussy – Part 2
In the Footsteps of Debussy – Part 3

Hear Debussy play Debussy in the bonus material of the 33-disc compilation “Claude Debussy: The Complete Works”

NEW! Click the album cover to listen to the complete album:
Debussy - Disc 33: Bonus material
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5 Minutes on Franz Liszt’s FunĂ©railles

Pianist Daniel Barenboim, now celebrating 75 years, has published a series of short videos titled “5 minutes on…” in which he discusses well-known piano pieces. In this episode he talks about Franz Liszt’s FunĂ©railles from the piano cycle Harmonies PoĂ©tiques et Religieuses.

Barenboim talks about FunĂ©raillesLiszt built his monumental and transcendental technique on the back of Czerny’s 1,100 etudes, which, as his teacher, Czerny forced him to memorize and play incessantly. Liszt translated that incredible power to the piano. Armed with such technique, he was free to explore new directions in both composition and performance. There was, literally, nothing he couldn’t play. Because he was so gifted, he was able to break new ground by playing recitals of other composers’ music, which was unusual during the early and middle 19th century.

Piano score to download and print:

Read more about Franz Liszt


Ode to Joy at the Proms 2017

Hear Igor Levit’s encore at First Night of the Proms 2017. Liszt’s piano solo version of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Beethoven theme transcribed by Liszt

Piano score to download and print:
Extract, page 45-47: Beethoven/Liszt – Theme from Symphony 9

The 9 Symphonies Transcribed by Liszt

For those interested in Liszt’s transcriptions of all nine Beethoven symphonies might also find thrill in the 19th century practices on ways to experience orchestral music without attending a symphony concert, years before the invention of recordings and piano rolls. With this in mind inspiring recordings of the Liszt versions of the symphonies have been spotted utilizing a variety of historical keyboards and performance styles. Liszt had produced a superb two-piano transcription of the Ninth, a work he often conducted. Despite his publisher Breitkopf & HĂ€rtel’s appeals, Liszt maintained that distilling the universe of Beethoven’s last symphony for one player at one instrument was impossible. In 1865 however, living in seclusion at a monastery on the Monte Mario, Liszt wrote a translation of the symphony medium to solo piano with immense craft and inspiration. The opening of the finale to the ‘Ode to Joy’ is stunningly affecting. But it is a stint preparation for the combination of rhythm, colour, pacing and unyielding musical will, describing the sublime exaltation of Beethoven’s incitement.

“Of the major Romantics, Liszt alone had a personal connection with Beethoven. A case could be made that this first-hand association would prove to be the defining event of his life. Even in old age, he continued to refer to Beethoven as his great ideal, the lodestar of his artistic universe. Liszt’s advocacy of Beethoven’s music, at a time when many of his contemporaries were either unfamiliar with or baffled by the late-period works, is a matter of historical record.
Before the earliest attempts at sound reproduction, Liszt drew on every means at his disposal to create an accurate replica, a facsimile, of works he recognised as uniquely powerful, in order that others might better know and understand an artistic legacy he loved and valued above all.”
— Patrick Rucker, Gramophone

Hear full recordings of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony transcribed by Liszt:

NEW! Click the album covers to listen to the complete albums:

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Read more in Piano Forum:
Have you heard the Beethoven / Liszt Symphonies (Transcriptions)
Beethoven Symphonies – Which one would you play?


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