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 Post subject: new Biography
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Posts: 1040
Hello Monica and Chris,

I thought it high time I changed my biography. It was very fun at the time, but somehow I do not think it really reflects my achievements. It might look like the biography of someone else, but it is not: I simply added things which before I had omitted and vice versa.

Would it be possible to place this new one in place of the other one? Here it is:

Quote:
While neither of my parents played any instrument (apart from my father's claim he could play "Chopsticks" on the piano), both enjoyed almost exclusively classical music. The absence of musical instruments was balanced by plenty of recordings, not only of the standard repertoire, but also of lesser-known works. Even though only six or seven years old, I also had my little collection of records and I remember that some of my first ones were of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas: The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore (the latter a 1949 stereo LP), and that I listened to them many times. I also attendend concerts regularly, usually of orchestral music, where I became acquainted with Grieg, Vivaldi and even such luminaries as Bottesini.

Encouraged by an older brother who was learning the guitar and by the presence in the house of the first flautist of the local symphony orchestra, I began playing the treble (alto) recorder, taking lessons for some years. My repertoire included Loeillet, Telemann, Marcello and Handel.

After some years and following the acquisition of a piano by an even older brother, I switched from the recorder to the piano. For over five years I took lessons from a graduate of the Paris Conservatoire and my repertoire included Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias, his Toccatas and The Well-Tempered Clavier, Beethoven's Sonatas opp 27/2 (complete) and 31/3, Mozart's sonatas Kk 330, 332, 333 and 545, Grieg's Lyric Pieces and Elegiac Melodies, Schubert's Impromptus op 90, Gershwin's Preludes and song arrangements (The Man I Love, Lady be Good, etc), Shostakovich's Fantastic Dances and Granados's Spanish Dances.

After graduating I left home and travelled extensively, living in Florence, Paris, Stuttgart, Bristol and London. Pianos were available now and then, notably in Bristol and in Paris, where I had access to a parlour grand. In Florence I rented a Baldwin, similar to the one I had sold before travelling; mostly, however, life was pianoless.

In 2007 I married, rented another piano and started playing again in earnest.

In 2010, after hearing for the first time the works of Bortkiewicz on Piano Society, I decided it was time to learn new music and have since become acquainted with the works of Galuppi, Field, Aleksandr Tcherepnin, Glinka, Mateo Albéniz, Rautavaara, Chernov and, of course, Bortkiewicz.

When not practising I work as a consultant for language, art, landscape and music schools.

My Russian wife and I have a small daughter, who will someday be either a ballerina or an opera singer; or maybe even both, who knows?


The "Donate" button is, of course, recent and remains as it is.

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: new Biography
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9579
Location: Netherlands
It's been replaced.
What are you playing by Rautavara then ? I toyed with his Icons Op. 6 but could not quite decide (apart from the first) whether I really liked them or not.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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 Post subject: Re: new Biography
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1040
techneut wrote:
It's been replaced.
What are you playing by Rautavara then ? I toyed with his Icons Op. 6 but could not quite decide (apart from the first) whether I really liked them or not.


Thank you.

I do not know about you, but I cannot help feeling that his music would be vastly improved without losing any of its character by simply weeding out the dissonance. I find very often that is what ruins his music to me. Look at the opening of his first piano concerto, but I am sure it would be much more impressive without that endless row of clusters on the right hand. The fisrt work of his I heard, however, is the one which remains my favourite and that is his setting of the Vigil of St. John, commissioned by the Finnish Orthodox Church. I suppose that is what makes me look for other works of his which are congenial and have recently ordered a CD with his music for violin and piano. Some of it I have heard on YouTube and can say that, while unmistakably by Rautavaara, does not deliver a punch to the ear.

I am working on his op 1, the Fiddlers, which is rather fun (and there also, I have found out that dropping (unintentionally) some of the seconds seems to make little difference to the harmony in some places, while in others playing the wrong second creates a clash which is absent from the correct chord.). I have tried recording it, but with my piano... While I can handle the speed (apart from passages where the impossible is asked, such as playing a melody "saltando" — this seems from a recording I have heard, and which is pointedly slower than necessary, to be the technique used in playing quavers in Bach's slow movements: neither legato nor staccato) I lose complete control over the monster and hell camps free.

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: new Biography
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9579
Location: Netherlands
Yes that concerto is rather tiring and relentless. I can't say that it does much for me either.
His Cantus Arcticus, on the same Naxos CD I find endlessly fascinating though. Also on that CD is the 3rd symphony which is a good listen and not all too stridently dissonant.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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 Post subject: Re: new Biography
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1040
Is it the third? I thought it was the fourth. I bought it at a time for my father, so I cannot remember, but I do remember the concerto and the Cantus. His third piano concerto seemed to have something to say, as well as Autumn Gardens.

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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