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 Post subject: Piano Society Tour of _______!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:22 am 
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Why don't we plan a 2010 Piano Society Tour of _______?
Recently, in Pianolady's thread the topic came up to organize a Piano Society tour to Europe. The camaraderie of traveling with fellow musicians sounds great and could be an amazing experience for the whole group - a first for Piano Society!

Anyone interested can suggest a destination to a European city or region. I or anyone else can plan a nice itinerary, or we can go as part of a tour package (cheaper), or even plan an itinerary based on a "musical odyssey" of various destinations of musical relevance... There are also plenty of music festivals throughout Europe in the summer. I think the most musical cities in Europe are Salzburg, Vienna, Paris, London, Prague, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Milan, Ravenna, etc. We could also have a mix of sight-seeing and music/culture which would make it more exciting. The easiest way to do it, is to book a tour (land portion only) and book a separate air portion so that we could stay longer to have a "musical itinerary" after the sight-seeing portion. The established tour companies are Trafalgar, Globus, Insight, Brendan, etc.

It's too late for 2009, but 2010 sounds promising! Late August and early September are the best times when the children return to school, and Europe goes back to work, and we'll encounter less crowds. I would assume that 9 days should be enough for most people. Let me know what you think about all this?....

Let's have members submit suggestions and ideas, we can tally a vote to select a the destination. In planning such a tour, we're not out to please everybody - that's impossible. The budget will depend on the itinerary, destination, accommodations, transportation. It will be interesting to see how many will commit to such an idea, I figured we have to start somewhere. So far, the "serious" suggestions are:

1. Pianolady: Paris
2. 88man: Paris and South of France

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 Post subject: Re: Piano Society Tour of _______!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:27 am 
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88man wrote:
1. Pianolady: Paris
2. 88man: Paris and South of France



And why don't I rob a bank to finance going to these expensive places. I'm applying for Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) jobs in Poland (and probably Ukraine if I don't hear anything from the Polish places). If I find employment, then it could be easier for me to tag along for a while depending on scheduling.

I'd like to cheaply as possible find my way to the Vatican (forget the city surrounding it). But I probably wont be able to afford much of anything.

So send me postcards :P :x :?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Well, to make things really cheap, why don't you all come to Chicago! Really - it would be a blast. I'll show you lots of cultural things but then lots of 'other' things too. Plus, we have great food.

I still want to go to Paris, and I am actually going there in a couple years from now. It's a birthday present to myself. I have a long list of places to see - like all the apartments where Chopin lived, the concert halls where he played, his friends homes, etc....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:42 am 
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Julius, I hope your job works out. Poland sounds fascinating - great music, culture, and the people are very nice! This means that you'll have to send US a postcard in the meantime.

Monica, to make Paris a musical pilgrimage to Chopin, you'll need about a week. In tracing Chopin's footsteps, start with the Salle Pleyel, where he performed his first (Op. 9a, b, etc.) - and his last - Paris concerts. His primary residence at 12 Place Vendôme is well documented as you know. In Ile St-Louis (the smaller island in the Seine River next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral), is the fascinating small Musée Adam Mickiewicz which houses fascinating Chopin memorabilia, like his famous death mask. He was given a state funeral in L'église de la Madeleine, an honor reserved only for heads of state. Don't forget to place flowers over his tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery too - a kind gesture that will weigh heavily on your heart for sure. Try to attend a concert in the reverberant La Sainte-Chapelle - the most beautiful church I've been to in Paris. Top it all off on a happy note with a birthday cake along the Champs-Élysées before your return. Make it happen, Madame!

Chicago has been on my list of U.S. cities to visit. The closest I got was the airport during a connecting flight en route to getting my piano. The ADA is headquartered there too. It seems that the city has a lot to offer in the way of great architecture, culture, schools, etc. I extend to all of you, the same invitation to Boston if anyone is ever by this way. Boston has many firsts in our nation's history, and I am a big history buff and a good tour guide!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Julius - wow, good luck in your job search. But do you have to go all the way to Poland? Your family would probably not like that.

George - Thanks for those tips on what to see in Paris. When you were there, did you also see Chopin's residence at no. 9 Square d'Orleans? That is one place I have to see. Also on the Ile St. Louis is an elegant residence where Chopin frequented - attending numerous soirees given by Princess Czartoryska. Maybe this is the same place that is the Musée Adam Mickiewicz?

I very much like history too and have been to Boston one time. If I go there again someday, I will look you up. Same goes for you (and anyone else) if you ever come to Chicago!

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:32 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
When you were there, did you also see Chopin's residence at no. 9 Square d'Orleans? That is one place I have to see. Also on the Ile St. Louis is an elegant residence where Chopin frequented - attending numerous soirees given by Princess Czartoryska. Maybe this is the same place that is the Musée Adam Mickiewicz?


Chopin's residence at 9 Square d'Orleans (80, rue Taitbout) was during the time when he was with Georges Sand. She lived in No. 5, and his apartment was No. 9 on the first floor. It's one room with a parlor. Hershey Felder has romanticized it in his "Monsieur Chopin," but IMHO Chopin's definitive residence is the sunny, 12 Place Vendôme.

Princess Marcelina Czartoryska was the best pupil of Chopin, and was one of the people at his bedside when he died at his Place Vendôme residence. Too bad that she "couldn't" become a professional pianist because of her rank, she could have created another Chopin school, one more missionary to his music...

I don't think Princess Czartoryska and Adam Mickiewicz were related, however they did live around the same time. Adam Mickiewicz married Celina Szymanska, daughter of Maria Szymanska, the famous pianist and composer. However, Mickiewicz did travel with Prince Czartoryski by heading a legion in Istanbul to fight in the Crimean War. Mickiewicz died there in 1855.

Adam Mickiewicz is to the Poles, what Shakespeare is the British, and what Goethe is to the Germans. Like many Poles living in Paris, he lived in exile. The Polish exiles and immigrants still feared the Russians since Paris was a political cauldron at the time, so any lavish displays or soirees had to be done cautiously.

Chopin revered Mickiewicz; he played for Mickiewicz when he was ailing in 1848. Schumann speculated that Chopin's 4 Ballades were written after 4 poems by Adam Mickiewicz. But it's difficult to authenticate that statement since the music is too free in form to attach any affiliation to that speculation, despite the fact that Chopin was a great student of Polish literature. It was Alfred Cortot, et. al. that perpetuated this notion.

The Musée Adam Mickiewicz archives the emmigrant history of Poles and the adjoining library contains books, maps, literature, and of course, Chopin memorabilia. It's open 2-6pm, and is closed mid July - mid September, so June is your best bet unless the schedule has changed? Do check with the museum... Bon Voyage!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:45 am 
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88man wrote:
Chopin's residence at 9 Square d'Orleans (80, rue Taitbout) was during the time when he was with Georges Sand. She lived in No. 5, and his apartment was No. 9 on the first floor. It's one room with a parlor. Hershey Felder has romanticized it in his "Monsieur Chopin," but IMHO Chopin's definitive residence is the sunny, 12 Place Vendôme.

Yes, I once wrote a little fictional story that took place in the no. 9 apartment, so I did quite a lot of research on it and Chopin’s life during that time. I also saw “Monsieur Chopin” when it was in Chicago a few years ago. Did you see it too?



88man wrote:
Chopin revered Mickiewicz; he played for Mickiewicz when he was ailing in 1848. Schumann speculated that Chopin's 4 Ballades were written after 4 poems by Adam Mickiewicz. But it's difficult to authenticate that statement since the music is too free in form to attach any affiliation to that speculation, despite the fact that Chopin was a great student of Polish literature. It was Alfred Cortot, et. al. that perpetuated this notion.

I read about that a long time ago – the idea that Chopin’s Ballades were influenced by Mickiewicz. Wasn’t the first Ballade thought to be from a poem that was about a wife killing her husband, or something like that? I can’t remember the whole story now.



88man wrote:
Bon Voyage!

Thanks, but I'm not going for another 2 1/2 years. But you can say it again, then. :)

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:19 am 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
I once wrote a little fictional story that took place in the no. 9 apartment, so I did quite a lot of research on it and Chopin’s life during that time. I also saw “Monsieur Chopin” when it was in Chicago a few years ago. Did you see it too?


I see that a lot of creative thought has gone into apt. #9. It's time then to break out of the abstract and live it vicariously by experiencing it in person. Go and knock on that door... Then tell us about it by writing an epilogue to your story, preferably with a musical composition?...

I've seen Monsieur Chopin several years ago, and I think Hershey Felder's works are fantastic!


Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
I read about that a long time ago – the idea that Chopin’s Ballades were influenced by Mickiewicz. Wasn’t the first Ballade thought to be from a poem that was about a wife killing her husband, or something like that? I can’t remember the whole story now.


Very little is factually known about the Ballades, arguably the greatest 4 masterpieces Chopin ever wrote from a pure musical standpoint. Acknowledging the fact that a ballade is a story, I would further add that Chopin is narrating a great story of large proportions. Any personal notions about the Ballade in G minor would be pure conjecture, so I thought I would offer some of my own thoughts on this piece...

In the psyche of Romantic composers, especially Chopin, there are recurring themes. In Chopin, the recurring theme of exile in Paris, nostalgia, the future of a great nation and it's people, (aside from the shadow of his ailing health), all weighed heavily on his mind. These feelings permeate throughout his music as if it were his artistic mission to make a difference through music. During the time this piece was written, 1835-36, Poland was politically unstable with the looming threat of a Russian invasion. First and foremost, Chopin acknowledged himself as patriot and is narrating a story in this piece that portrays the great Polish history through the multifaceted musical variations - looming darkness (Introduction), nostalgia (1st theme), poetry/love (E-flat), plight of the Poles (development), Chopin's desperation (coda). And for this reason, this Ballade stands the test of time in its greatness, because it is all encompassing, it represents the essence of the man, probes the depths of his heart, gives reason for his ideals, and heralds his great story in a large scale framework of a sonata. I think his message succeeds on all fronts with this piece, in my mind, the greatest story he ever wrote is the Ballade in G minor!

To some it may seem like he's pursuing an ideal that is often unattainable. If it must be, then he is committed to go down fighting through indefatigable persistence and determination - musically speaking. Enter the realm of Romanticism! Even triumph for Chopin bears the bittersweet reminder of melancholy only a few measures away, as in the "Heroic" Polonaise in A-flat...
Fast forward in time... Never more revealing are such notions of exile, nostalgia, and future of a nation and it's people, more apparent than with Rachmaninoff. Two different composers, parallel universes. Revolution has formed the psyche of many artists and musicians, and from these tragic and melancholic states, we sit here in hindsight and enjoy their greatness that continues to endure into the archives of ages....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:21 pm 
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88man wrote:
I see that a lot of creative thought has gone into apt. #9. It's time then to break out of the abstract and live it vicariously by experiencing it in person. Go and knock on that door... Then tell us about it by writing an epilogue to your story, preferably with a musical composition?...


That’s so funny, but no way could I ever just knock on some stranger's door. Eek, just the thought of it makes my stomach tie up in knots. But my sister on the other hand is very bold. Now that I think about this, I should really ask her to be my travel partner to Paris.



88man wrote:
I've seen Monsieur Chopin several years ago, and I think Hershey Felder's works are fantastic!

I know he was going to do Beethoven next. I have not been following his schedule lately, so I’m not sure if he is already performing that show or not. I’d really like to see it if he is. Did you see his Gershwin show? I did not, but I have it on a CD.



88man wrote:
During the time this piece was written, 1835-36, Poland was politically unstable with the looming threat of a Russian invasion. First and foremost, Chopin acknowledged himself as patriot and is narrating a story in this piece that portrays the great Polish history through the multifaceted musical variations - looming darkness (Introduction), nostalgia (1st theme), poetry/love (E-flat), plight of the Poles (development), Chopin's desperation (coda). And for this reason, this Ballade stands the test of time in its greatness, because it is all encompassing, it represents the essence of the man, probes the depths of his heart, gives reason for his ideals, and heralds his great story in a large scale framework of a sonata. I think his message succeeds on all fronts with this piece, in my mind, the greatest story he ever wrote is the Ballade in G minor!


Interesting, your ideas of the Ballade in G minor, one of my favorites. However, I once performed it in a recital and the time I spent practicing it was sort of strange in that there were times I felt like I was going crazy. My mind constantly wandered when I was playing it and sometimes I even broke down and started sobbing before getting to the end. So, although I understand your thoughts about ever-the-patriot-Chopin, composing music that heralds his countries struggles, I seem to go into it so deeply that I hit the bottom where swirling depression bites and threatens to take hold. Although during those days I was also writing that story about Chopin and so I probably was just way too into all that stuff. Except, now you just mentioned the Polonaise in A flat and that is the centerpiece in my little story, so now I’m freaking out a little….

Thanks for speaking your mind, George. I enjoy learning about our diverse and very knowledgeable group of PS members.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:31 am 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
...but no way could I ever just knock on some stranger's door. Eek, just the thought of it makes my stomach tie up in knots. But my sister on the other hand is very bold. Now that I think about this, I should really ask her to be my travel partner to Paris.

Monica, here is the scenario: your sister will knock on the door of Apt. #9. When you confront the stranger at the door, then you'll offer to play a little Chopin for them as a hospitality gift... I am sure they would oblige once they discover your good intentions. :D BTW, I think going to Paris with your sister would be a great idea! I wish I had siblings. You two will take charge of the city in a week!

Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that Hershey Felder was going have a play about Beethoven. I'll have to see it when he comes to Boston.

Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
...it was sort of strange in that there were times I felt like I was going crazy. My mind constantly wandered when I was playing it...

Absolutely, there are parts in the development of the Ballade in G minor that can really throw one for a loop. Even after you decipher the ascending passages, it is inherently destabilizing for the pianist to play continuously, and I can see how one can go crazy, especially while performing in public. It's those 4 pages!
It's difficult to find a perfect recording of this piece, but I like like Krystian Zimmerman's rendition of this Ballade...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR7eUSFsn28

P.S. I think this little Chopin story that you're referring to is becoming quite famous as the suspense is building about its plot... I hope we can read this mysterious story on PS??? :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Yes, I've always like Zimmerman's playing that Ballade too.

But I like this one just as well. He is my former teacher. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJAbUQbs ... annel_page



88man wrote:

P.S. I think this little Chopin story that you're referring to is becoming quite famous as the suspense is building about its plot... I hope we can read this mysterious story on PS??? :P


well, it’s actually around 500 pages and I’d be way too embarrassed to let anyone read it. I did submit it to some publishers awhile back and got a couple nibbles, but nothing went further than that.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:58 pm 
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I am in Texas,Dallas-Ft Worth Area

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