Mar 8, 2014 · 2 minute read · Comments
It turns out that a ten-year-old boy I currently give private chess lessons to is also passionate about music, and his piano teacher had him submit a recording for the annual Duquesne Young Artist Performance Awards competition, and his entry happened to be one of the around thirty chosen, ranging from ages 7-16, so he gave a performance at the Winners Showcase at the PNC Recital Hall of the Mary Papper School of Music of Duquesne University.
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Mar 8, 2014 · 4 minute read · Comments
musicCarl Philipp Emanuel BachfluteEmmanuel Pahudharpsichordfortepiano
So, today is the 300th birthday of CPE Bach, one of the sons of the much more famous Johann Sebastian Bach.
Unless you’re a Western art music history buff, or are specifically interested in the Baroque and Classical eras, you may not even have heard of CPE Bach, which is somewhat ironic because he was actually more well-known and respected in his day than his father.
Why is this composer so little recognized today?
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Mar 6, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
For The Chess Improver, I wrote “A fantasy game, move by move: White opens with fifteen pawn moves in a row!”.
Mar 5, 2014 · 5 minute read · Comments
musicpianoukulelesingingSteel City UkulelesMy Favorite Thingscookies
I finally made it again to the latest Steel City Ukuleles meetup, after an absence of almost two months! What happened?
Part of what happened was that after the last meeting in mid-January, I had some battles with illness and fatigue and also got very busy. For whatever reason, I just plain lost interest in playing ukulele. It was like a switch flipped off. And each time a meetup came, I kind of intended to attend anyway, in hope of rekindling my interest, but it always turned out that something came up that was more important and so I missed two meetings in February that I otherwise did sign up for but canceled at the last minute.
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Feb 27, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
For The Chess Improver, I wrote “The human problem of not mentally switching gears during a long game”.
Feb 22, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
Since I consider cake to be in the same category as cookies for my rule, I had to take a photo of this slice of birthday cake.
Slice of birthday cake It was difficult for me to say no to a bit of cake mainly because Abby’s parents had us over for dinner and this cake was for a delayed joint celebration of Abby’s birthday and her father’s birthday.
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Feb 20, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
For The Chess Improver, I wrote “Your mission, should you choose to accept it: total restriction of activity”.
Feb 16, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
musicrecorderPittsburgh Recorder SocietyGiovanni GabrieliPittsburghcookies
Because so many people are now regularly attending the Pittsburgh Recorder Society monthly meetings, we have enough critical mass to work on larger ensemble pieces. Fred pulled out a 7-part Gabrieli piece for us from the 16th century. Fun! I look forward to continuing working on this in March.
We also continued work on other pieces we started earlier in the season. Fred’s guidance is as inspiring as ever. I feel that every meeting of our group is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a musician.
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Feb 13, 2014 · 1 minute read · Comments
For The Chess Improver, I wrote “A tale of three discovered attacks: a Zwischenzug feast!”.
Feb 10, 2014 · 4 minute read · Comments
musicLatin musicboleroDos GardeniasMaria RitaElis Reginabossa novaIbrahim FerrerOmara Portuondo
I encountered an intriguing article “Brazil’s Maria Rita Rediscovers Her Mother Through Music”.
The name “Maria Rita” was familiar to me for only one reason: exactly one year ago, by coincidence, right after attending a music performance, I was looking up performances of the bolero “Dos Gardenias” on YouTube, in order to see what was out there, and also to find a “karaoke” version I could use to practice singing to and playing the flute to (I ended up playing the piece on flute a month later at a party), and one of the performances that struck me as notable and unusual was hers.
It turns out that in this NPR program, when asked to choose a musical selection to end the program with, Maria Rita chose her recording of “Dos Gardenias”. You can watch a video of a live performance of hers here (sorry, the provider did not allow it to be embeddable). Do watch it: I found it strangely mesmerizing. It is understated compared to “normal” bolero style, yet expressive in its own way. Also, this video has her moving to the music while singing, eyes closed.
Anyway, it turns out that Maria Rita’s mother was the famous Brazilian singer Elis Regina, who died at 36. The interview was interesting because it brought up the issue of what it’s like being the child of a famous musician, because if you’re a musician also, then there are always comparisons and questions.
But what I want to return to my real topic, which is the bolero “Dos Gardenias”, one of my favorite boleros ever.
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