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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:26 am 
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Pianolady wrote:
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Ok, chapter 3 was very short.


Yes, but it´s full of subtle observations and narrative details. It´s so fascinating how the narrator describes the arrival and first time with his new piano as a kind of process of meeting a new friend. So, he searches for the history and the provenance of this new piano and did several more or less absurd speculations about the letters L.A. At the end we come a bit nearer to the question, why the new clients of Luc have to be recommended by other clients. The chapter ends with Lucs advice, that the narrator is a client now and that he can recommend now also "trusted friends". So, I suppose, the reason for the recommendation-necessarity is, that Desforges piano shop does only want clients, who have a sincere and deep relation to pianos and not every people of the street have it.
Could I be right with this?

Quote:
And now the piano is at its new home. Isn't that nice? Remember when your new piano came to your home? I do - vividly. One of the most exciting days!


Yes, I have had four of such delivery-events in my life until now (apart from relocations, in which my grand also had to be transported into my new home).
When I was 10 we got an old Ibach-piano, with 13 I got a Seiler upright, with 15 my Kawai-GS60-grand-piano and with 35 I sold my Kawai and bought my Grotrian-Steinweg. The Grotrian had to be transported with a linkage over the balcony out of the house of the former owner, an old lady. Then it came with a truck to my house. Here the transport was quite easy, because my living-room is on ground-floor. So, there was only a little staircase with five steps, which is before the entry of our house.

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Sometime in the near future, we will be taking the carpeting out of our living room and replace it with hard wood. My piano will need to be moved out of the house while the construction is going on. I am not looking forward to that.


That really sounds disagreeable. :? Is it really necessary to move out your piano entirely out of the house, can´t you put it just in another room?

Tomorrow I´ll continue with chapter 4. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:42 pm 
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musicusblau said:
[Quote]What do you mean with this? Which club?[Quote]

I'm sorry, i wasn't so clear. I was asking if you were the type that enjoyed smiling at people who aren't going to smile back. It is a very common expression for being an altruist. I was wondering whether or not you yourself are an altruist.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:38 pm 
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Lukecash wrote:
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I'm sorry, i wasn't so clear. I was asking if you were the type that enjoyed smiling at people who aren't going to smile back. It is a very common expression for being an altruist. I was wondering whether or not you yourself are an altruist.


Phew, that´s a very difficult and personal question. :oops: Probably, if I´d be in the right mood, I could enjoy to smile back to people, who aren´t going to smile back, but may be do the opposite. This is what you meant, isn´t it? (Oops, in this moment I feel to decrease rapidly my sureness in the English language :lol: ) I think, I can be altruistic sometimes or often, but not always. That´s probably the most honest answer I could give you on your question.
But now you have to allow me to return your question:
Do you feel yourself to be altruistic? And always? (I don´t believe, a man would say this of himself, isn´t it?)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Oh! Andreas - I learned our character's name in chapter 6! I will not tell you here and let you find it yourself.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are very short. I read them last night. Have you read them yet? I don't want to give away everything.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:12 pm 
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I admire your intellect that you would make me feel like a bastard to call myself an altruist :twisted:
Let's say i do my damnedest. I plan on doing missionary work, refuse to use my skills very much in the educational system, enjoy very much a good natured debate to help people understand things that just don't necessarily give you an answer right away. I simply want people to feel fulfilled, more than just expendable, and wonderful, because in all reality they are. I don't always get the job done, but yes, i never stop wanting to.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Hi Lukecash,
I fear we go out of topic now, but I´d like to give you a last answer to the discussion you´ve begun at this place. I think, it should be the last one, because I think, we loose the relation to the book "The piano shop on the left bank", which is the subject of this thread.
Lukecash wrote:
Quote:
I admire your intellect that you would make me feel like a bastard to call myself an altruist :twisted:


Nothing of this was my intention or planned. I just told you honestly, what I think in general.

Quote:
Let's say i do my damnedest. I plan on doing missionary work, refuse to use my skills very much in the educational system, enjoy very much a good natured debate to help people understand things that just don't necessarily give you an answer right away.


We all seem to have more or less an "altruistic" site or aspect of our personality. F.ex. if we are members here on PS we share our recordings for free with many others and we try to help each other with our tips and comments. While doing all this we are all personalities with our own mind and ego. And we all try to help other people to become aware of things, which we consider for good ones and of which we are convinced. All this is very usual IMO.
But I´m very doubtfully to people, who think, they have the only "right answer" to things (especially to the "last things" like religion and God or similar issues) and who think, they have to convince other people in "missionary work".
So, to be really "altruistic" in the true sense of the word means for me not to consider the own personality and the own ego for the absolute truth. I think, the truth mirrors in our personalities in different ways, depending on our character and predisposition, but we never can say, that we have the absolute truth for ourself. That´s impossible! Plato´s Parable of the Cave is a good philosophic allegory to show this f.ex. And in Goethes "Faust" we found this idea in Fausts words: "In the coloured reflection we have the life." (=My personal translation of: "Am farbigen Abglanz haben wir das Leben.")
I feel very fulfilled with music and other things. So, I personally really don´t need any missionary. Thank you for this discussion, anyway.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:15 pm 
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Oh! Andreas - I learned our character's name in chapter 6! I will not tell you here and let you find it yourself.


Thank you, Monica, that will keep my curiosity.

Quote:
Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are very short. I read them last night. Have you read them yet? I don't want to give away everything.


I´m just at the end of chapter four. I think, I´ll read until chaper 6 (including chapter 6) this night. I´m going on with to read now. I think, I´ll need two hours or so (I do not read so fastly like you, I suppose, because I´m not a native speaker. :wink: ) I´m up to read on and have a big interest. I´m really glad, you read with me. So, tomorrow I´ll write something to chapter 4-6, I think.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:15 am 
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O.k., I have read chapters 4-6:
In "Madame Gaillard" we meet the first piano-teacher of Thad Carhart (in ch. 6 we experience, that the first-person-narrator is the author himself), when he was five. He gets first an own upright, which his parents buy at an auction. But this first upright breaks down after its first hard use in the familiy and Thad may practise at the neighbours house.
Madame Gaillard is described as a kind and encouraging teacher of an "infinitive patience".
It´s wonderful to have such a teacher, especially for the beginning, isn´t it?

In chapter 5 (The one which fits) acts of Lucs opportunity to by an old Steinway, Model C, built in 1896, but unfortuenately his apartment is to small for this big grand-piano. So, he has to sell it and to restore a Pleyel-grand with 6 legs for himself, which is described to look like a harpsichord for Thad.

In chapter 6 Mrs. Pemberton is desribed not so likely as Madame Gaillard. Thad is back in the USA, in Virginia and is between 8 and 9 years old now. Mrs. Pemberton seems to love etudes of Hanon and other technical exercises. She emphasizes highly the annual recital of her pupils in her own house, which is cleaned shining and blank for this event of public presentation of her pupils, which by the author is considered as a social game with no deeper meaning. For himself it´s important to study music for itself in his own privateness. Here he has the feeling truely to come near to music, whereas the public recitals he feels to be like circus-performances.
All stays from them is a nightmare: he doesn´t know, how his piece begins and Mrs. Pemberton isn´t there.

I find to be interesting, that the playing in public is considered as a "special gift", which for the author seems not truely to have to do with music itself. Who has this gift, can make a musical career, who has is not, is not able to make this career. Thad himself has not this special talent to play in public, but he seems to be sensitive and musical nevertheless.
I think for similar reasons, Glenn Gould decided in the 50th not to play anymore in public, but only to make recordings. I personally can understand this decision up to a certain point, because playing in public means, that you have no time to revise something, and that´s inhuman in a way, on the other side I consider a public recital as a great chance of transmitting authenticly and lively messages of music, which can´t be done in a recording in the same way, because there isn´t the directness and immediacy.
What do you think of this issue, Monica?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:56 pm 
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What I liked about chapter 4 was the very last paragraph - specifically the lines, "The piano became a kind of flying carpet by which I could travel to an entirely different place, and I would leave the room with the half-dazed sensibility that children sometimes show when they have discovered a new and agreeable and utterly private world of their own."

I get that feeling still today sometimes.



musicusblau wrote:
In chapter 5 (The one which fits) acts of Lucs opportunity to by an old Steinway, Model C, built in 1896, but unfortuenately his apartment is to small for this big grand-piano


Yes, poor Luc. I felt bad that he could not have the piano of his dreams. Sounds like it was a beautiful piano, doesn’t it? He even considered knocking down a wall in his house so the piano would fit. I can relate to that.

Chapter 6 - Yes, I could almost feel the anxiety that Thad felt when he sat at the piano but could not remember how to start his piece. That’s an awful feeling! And that gave him those nightmares.


Quote:
What do you think of this issue, Monica?

I have several conflicting thoughts on this issue. I certainly do not have this ‘gift’ of playing well in public. Although I badly wish I did. Every single time I have played in public, I have not been happy with my performance. I have the piece down all right, but because of nerves it never goes well. When I sit down to play in a room full of people, I want so much for them to hear how wonderful the music is. But I make slips, or have memory gaps and the piece isn’t as good as it should have been. Very maddening. Then also is that I want the people to think that I am a good pianist, but of course that can’t be when I do these shoddy performances.

But…people in the audience are not like us – most of them, anyway. They are not as critical and discerning as we are. After my performances, I hear from people things like, ‘that was wonderful’, or ‘what great music’, or ‘you played perfectly’. In my mind I’m thinking, ‘are you nuts? That was a horrible performance.” But they don’t see it that way. So all of that makes me glad that I do have a chance to play for people sometimes.

But…also…since I am never happy with my performances because I feel I do not convey the music properly to an audience, then I think I am more like Gould and our character, Thad, in that I am better off playing only for myself. That’s when my music is the best. But then again…isn’t life better when you can share your joys with others?

Oh, Andreas – I’m getting very mixed up right now, probably because I do have to perform in a recital in three weeks. Only one piece, thank goodness, but I haven’t even chosen which piece I will play yet. It’s a choice between a Granados Spanish Dance, or a Mompou Cancion & Danza. I’m working up both of them this week, but it’s not going well and now I’m getting upset. Sorry for all of this – I just had to let out some of my own anxieties.

I'll get on with the next chapter later today. And don't feel like you need to hurry and read. We have all the time in the world.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
I have several conflicting thoughts on this issue. I certainly do not have this ‘gift’ of playing well in public. Although I badly wish I did. Every single time I have played in public, I have not been happy with my performance. I have the piece down all right, but because of nerves it never goes well. When I sit down to play in a room full of people, I want so much for them to hear how wonderful the music is. But I make slips, or have memory gaps and the piece isn’t as good as it should have been. Very maddening. Then also is that I want the people to think that I am a good pianist, but of course that can’t be when I do these shoddy performances.


I know all this very well, Monica. I have played very often in public in my life and this summer I´ll have little recital again. I´ll play the Scherzo no.3 and several Nocturnes, prelude by Chopin and I think, some Songs without Words by Mendelssohn.
I think, our main-problem is our ego with all its excitement and stage-fright. I very often have made the experience, if I try to forget myself and to concentrate on music itself, it becomes much better and the music begins to flow through me somehow. If I get this feeling, I´m totally happy and satisfied. The only problem is, that I´m not always in the right mood, if I do play in public and I´m not able to forget myself always, when I do play in public. So, it´s a new game every time I do it, sometimes it´s more or less successfull, sometimes not.

Quote:
But…people in the audience are not like us – most of them, anyway. They are not as critical and discerning as we are. After my performances, I hear from people things like, ‘that was wonderful’, or ‘what great music’, or ‘you played perfectly’. In my mind I’m thinking, ‘are you nuts? That was a horrible performance.” But they don’t see it that way. So all of that makes me glad that I do have a chance to play for people sometimes.


O.k., you are right and I know this too well, too, but this never makes me truely happy, if I´m honest. I have to be satisfied with my playing myself and not with the praise of people, who don´t know anything about music or are probably only too polite to say honestly what they think about my bad performance.

Quote:
But…also…since I am never happy with my performances because I feel I do not convey the music properly to an audience, then I think I am more like Gould and our character, Thad, in that I am better off playing only for myself. That’s when my music is the best. But then again…isn’t life better when you can share your joys with others?


I have a clear opinion concerning this issue recording against live-performance: live-performances in public have the very higher value for me, because they are more lively, spontaneous and demanding than to make a recording! They demand, what music is originally made for: that the heart is edified by the music and for this the player has to breath totally the mind of the music itself, which he is performing. To "breath the mind of the music" means to lose oneself in this higher spirit for the moment of this live-performance. That´s indeed the gift a true musician should have. And I have to admit, that I also have to fight with it. But I´ll try it again and again and I never will give it up, because it´s the celestialest one can experience on earth, I think.

Quote:
Oh, Andreas – I’m getting very mixed up right now, probably because I do have to perform in a recital in three weeks. Only one piece, thank goodness, but I haven’t even chosen which piece I will play yet. It’s a choice between a Granados Spanish Dance, or a Mompou Cancion & Danza. I’m working up both of them this week, but it’s not going well and now I’m getting upset. Sorry for all of this – I just had to let out some of my own anxieties.


This is very understandable for me. I know these feelings too well. You are a real good pianist IMO and you´ll have success! Try to concentrate on music itself like I have described above. It´s the only medicine against the stage-fright. You have played so much pieces for PS, so that you´ll be successful with to play just one piece in public!

Quote:
I'll get on with the next chapter later today. And don't feel like you need to hurry and read. We have all the time in the world.


Yes, you are right. But I like this book and I´d like to use my Easter-vacations for myself to read as much as possible of it. So, I´ll read chapter 7, too, this evening. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:59 am 
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Hi Monica,
in chapter 7 we meet a new character, Joss, a piano-tuner, who is originated in Germany.
In chapter 8 we experience "how it (=a piano) works", we read a lot about the main-features of a piano and here I have learned some interesting new English words like "soundboard" (I think in german it´s "Resonanzkörper") and "pin-block" (= "Stimmstock"). But it´s not only enlightening concerning the building of a piano, we look also at the relationship between him and Luc at the end of the chapter: for Thad pianos are a nice avocation of his responsibilities and for Luc they are a profession, a true craft, in which the craftsman is deeply connected with his item and with his customers. And Thad learns, that the process of approximation to Luc is much slower than it would be to a friend in America, because he seems more closed. But they tacitly understand each other and that´s the main-thing. For Luc Thads private interest is like an affirmation of his profession.

Today I´ll read chapter 9 (and may be 10). You are right, Monica, we have all the time of the world, and, please, feel free to read in your own tempo. If I consider, that the book has 24 chapters, I think, I´ll not get through it during my vacation, which end on sunday. Of course, I´ll continue to read also after my vacation, but I´ll have fewer time for such things, when I have to work again.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Hi Andreas,

Quote:
But I´ll try it again and again and I never will give it up, because it´s the celestialest one can experience on earth, I think.

Wow – that’s very profound. I think I would be in a state of shock if I ever performed in front of an audience and played perfectly. Maybe that is also like having a celestial experience. But I think I also get that from just playing alone in my living room when I am able to let a piece roll right off my fingers without any trouble.

Quote:
This is very understandable for me. I know these feelings too well. You are a real good pianist IMO and you´ll have success! Try to concentrate on music itself like I have described above. It´s the only medicine against the stage-fright. You have played so much pieces for PS, so that you´ll be successful with to play just one piece in public!

Thanks for the pep talk. I will probably need another one soon!

Chapter 7 - You are close, but Jos is actually Dutch.

Chapter 8 - I have recently done some research on how pianos are built, so I know all about the parts of the pianos Thad was describing.

Have you ever seen a piano totally dismantled? I have not. But whenever I see photos of one, I feel a little sick – almost like I am looking at the insides of a creature.

And I don’t why, but reading about dismantling a piano made me think of my brother. My dad has an old Whizzer built in the 1930’s. It is a kind of motor bike. He still rides it. Anyway, without my dad knowing, when my brother was young he one day decided that he was going to paint the Whizzer red. (it was black before). So he took it all apart and painted it, but when he put it back together, he didn’t do it right, as there were still some parts lying around. We laugh now, but my dad was not happy about it then.

Chapter 9 - fall boards. Interesting how our character gets a lot of geography lessons as he comes upon different pianos. Throughout his life, Thad has not been able to resist walking up to a piano he finds in a hotel lobby or restaurant and lift the fall board so he can see who made the piano and then he also pushes down on some keys - usually getting reprimanded by a clerk or manager who shoos Thad away from the piano. My favorite line in this chapter is when he says, "It was my own personal form of anarchism, and I was nothing if not persistent."

Ok - I'll try to get to chapter 10 later today.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Quote:
I think I would be in a state of shock if I ever performed in front of an audience and played perfectly. Maybe that is also like having a celestial experience.


That´s funny! :lol:

Quote:
But I think I also get that from just playing alone in my living room when I am able to let a piece roll right off my fingers without any trouble.


Yes, me too, but in a live-performance before other people the "thrill" is much bigger. But I agree also to Thad words of chapter 9: "No recitals, no grinning adults and special requests. Just me and the unexceptional playing that swelled into intricate fantasies of triumphe and transcendence."
Of course, you can have that good feeling also while playing at home and/or making recordings.

Quote:
Thanks for the pep talk. I will probably need another one soon!


O.k., I´ll be here. :wink:

Quote:
Chapter 7 - You are close, but Jos is actually Dutch.


:oops: I don´t really know, why I thought he is german, may be because he said a sentence with "ja" at the end. :lol:

Quote:
Chapter 8 - I have recently done some research on how pianos are built, so I know all about the parts of the pianos Thad was describing.


Wow, that´s profound work.

Quote:
Have you ever seen a piano totally dismantled? I have not. But whenever I see photos of one, I feel a little sick – almost like I am looking at the insides of a creature.


Yes, especially if it is the own piano, I think. :?

Quote:
And I don’t why, but reading about dismantling a piano made me think of my brother. My dad has an old Whizzer built in the 1930’s. It is a kind of motor bike. He still rides it. Anyway, without my dad knowing, when my brother was young he one day decided that he was going to paint the Whizzer red. (it was black before). So he took it all apart and painted it, but when he put it back together, he didn’t do it right, as there were still some parts lying around. We laugh now, but my dad was not happy about it then.


Yes, it´s better to dismantle something only, if you are able to assemble it completly again, later. But I know this experience, because I have made it several times myself. :lol:

Quote:
Chapter 9 - fall boards. Interesting how our character gets a lot of geography lessons as he comes upon different pianos. Throughout his life, Thad has not been able to resist walking up to a piano he finds in a hotel lobby or restaurant and lift the fall board so he can see who made the piano and then he also pushes down on some keys - usually getting reprimanded by a clerk or manager who shoos Thad away from the piano. My favorite line in this chapter is when he says, "It was my own personal form of anarchism, and I was nothing if not persistent."


Yes, that´s a good sentence, because it testifys to the individual will of Thad. I have started with chapter 9, hope to reach also the end of chapter 10 this night. Thank you, Monica.

BTW, have a look at my first picture-experiment with Adobe Photoshop in my guitar-thread, if you like. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:12 pm 
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Ok, Andreas - I just read chapter 10. It's a little longer than the others. Here are my thoughts:

I enjoyed reading about the development of the piano from harpsichord to what it is today. And isn’t it interesting how piano music developed along with it? Of course that goes without saying, really, except in Beethoven’s case who wrote music for a piano which didn’t quite exist yet. Mozart and Haydn also benefited the most at the time as when the pianos dynamic capabilities evolved, although I find it funny that Beethoven seemed to wreck every piano he played.

I didn’t know that it was Erard who invented the double escapement action. What would we do without that? And thanks to the American for inventing the one-piece cast-iron frame which allows our Romantic music to be played with abandon. This is just what Liszt needed! Prior to the cast-iron frame, the pianos which he played upon would mostly end up in pieces on the stage and therefore several pianos were sitting backstage at his concerts so that they could replace the one that he destroyed. Amazing! Sure would have been fun to be at one of his concerts!

Interesting, the reason behind why most grands (concert grands) are black today, but there really is no reason why the keys are black and white, except that they go better with the black or brown pianos.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:36 pm 
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PIanolady wrote:
Quote:
I enjoyed reading about the development of the piano from harpsichord to what it is today. And isn’t it interesting how piano music developed along with it? Of course that goes without saying, really, except in Beethoven’s case who wrote music for a piano which didn’t quite exist yet. Mozart and Haydn also benefited the most at the time as when the pianos dynamic capabilities evolved, although I find it funny that Beethoven seemed to wreck every piano he played.


Yes, at last he had a lovely piano built by Conrad Graf in Wien. I have a gramphon-recording on which Jörg Demus plays some Beethoven-pieces on it, also the 6 Bagatelles I remember. It has a complete different sound from modern pianos, the colour of the tones is much more unbalanced and somehow thiner than the one of modern pianos. I have seen this piano, when I visited the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, where he was born and has lived. I would like to mention the quotation from the book: "In a sense Beethoven was composint for an instrument, which didn´t still exist. Within a generation it would, and the piano would reach it´s apotheosis." So, Beethoven was truely a visionary. I found to be interesting the comparison to what a man of the middelage must have been felt, when he saw Notre-Dame in Paris, that´s what must have felt a musician of the 19th century when sitting on Beethovens "Graf"-grand. So, what´s to be felt as "great" or "appealing" is all a question of habbit and development.

Quote:
I didn’t know that it was Erard who invented the double escapement action. What would we do without that?


I knew this. It´s really one of the most important point in piano-delevopment.

Quote:
And thanks to the American for inventing the one-piece cast-iron frame which allows our Romantic music to be played with abandon. This is just what Liszt needed! Prior to the cast-iron frame, the pianos which he played upon would mostly end up in pieces on the stage and therefore several pianos were sitting backstage at his concerts so that they could replace the one that he destroyed. Amazing! Sure would have been fun to be at one of his concerts!


I agree, it would have been great, to see how a piano went to the floor, when Liszt played it personally. :lol:

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Interesting, the reason behind why most grands (concert grands) are black today, but there really is no reason why the keys are black and white, except that they go better with the black or brown pianos.


I could imagine, there is a reson, why the keys are black and white. Since the keys were made of ivory until 1980, they are white of their nature and I suppose, the best colour to make them different from these white ivory-keys was black for the chromatic tones. That´s my personal explanation, what do you think?
My Grotrian-Steinweg is built in 1980 and it still has ivory-keys. Does your grand have ivory or the modern substitute-material?
This was also an interesting point in chapter 10 for me: the reflection on the advantages respective disadvantages of the old ivory-keys and the modern polymer-based replacements. My former Kawai-grand had this replacement and I really can agree of my own experience to what Carhart wrote: "Many pianists, particular concert-pianists, prefer ivory, because it is said to absorb sweat from the fingers and to have a "softer" feel than the polymer-based replacements."
To play on the synthetic substitute felt always a bit slippery, especially if you had washed your hands shortly before playing or if your fingers were perspiring.

In the end of our discussion of chapter 10 I´d like to add, that the title of this chapter "The world bcomes louder" is a very true description of the development of keyboard-instruments.
If we think of the silent intimacy of a clavichord (I recently have listened to a recording of Bachs prelude in b-flat-major of WTCI played on a clavichord, it was so fascinating and beautiful) and compare it with the loud and full tone of a modern Steinway, then it´s clear, that even a tone played piano on the Steinway corresponds nearly to a tone played forte on a clavichord.

O.k., now I´ll go to the "Lessons". :wink:

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