Victor Borge improvises

Another holiday treat… Victor Borge improvising Monti’s Czardas with violinist Anton Kontra!

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Levant plays Gershwin

Christmas Eve movie was American in Paris. I’d forgotten how much I liked Gershwin’s Concerto in F. Here’s Oscar Levant in the dream scene where he’s the pianist, conductor, orchestra and audience! When was the last time you heard piano playing like that in a Hollywood movie? By the way, I had no idea Levant was a composer and that he studied under Harold Schoenberg. Enjoy!

On memorizing Beethoven

On learning the Beethoven Sonatas , pianist Per Tengstrand has some excellent tips. Here’s one that I absolutely agree with. So much easier said than done, but I did spend the time to memorize the Waldstein Sonata (two measures at a time) before I could really play it and I never regretted it…it was the only piece that never had a memory slip in performance. Tengstrand says….

Once opening the score, start memorizing immediately. It is not fun, it’s actually very tedious, but it will force you to analyze the material, it will make you memorize it without using any muscle memory (and that possibility will not come back!) which in turn will be your real, so-called “back-up memory” when the stress in a performance might make your brain’s signals to the fingers go haywire. (read more)

Pictures Reframed

Pictures Reframed

Norwegian pianist Lief Ove Andsnes and South African artist Robin Rhode have collaborated on a multimedia performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The concert is touring with 2 stage sets (Set 1 and Set 2). Set 1 comprises a large central screen above the piano showing the full video works and Set 2 includes additional still imagery by Robin Rhode on a number of other screens surrounding the piano. The artists just wrapped their London performances and are heading on to Naples, Berlin, Oslo and Paris.

Curious? Read Rhode’s explanation for his treatment of each piece of the suite from the Promenade of the Kadet whose feet never touch the ground to the final submersion and resurrection of the Drowning Piano. Watch the “making of” video and visit Pictures Reframed.

“I’m hoping that we can attract younger people; those who are maybe going to galleries and who are interested in contemporary art but who don’t think that classical music is fashionable. Maybe a project like this can open some ears in addition to eyes for that audience.” — Leif Ove Andsnes

And this is always a good thing.