The enlightened listening blog

Gearing up for Beethoven’s 32 sonatas

I’m gearing up for my fifth journey through the thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas, starting on September 22, 2016 (see Recital Series, right). The last one was eleven years ago when I performed them at Houston’s Rothko Chapel. This time the venue is the new Shigeru Recital Hall at Houston’s Kawai Gallery.

The acoustics are superb, and the Shigeru concert grand is one of the most beautiful pianos in Houston. I am greatly looking forward to playing often on that magnificent instrument.
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Horn of Plenty

A few months ago I found a batch of schoolboy letters I had written to my parents during an age when LP’s were king, and expensive. In letter after letter I would carefully present my short lists of records I … Continue reading

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The Diabelli Effect

Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations is one of the greatest piano works, and one of the most demanding for players and listeners. But the variety, freshness and emotional range of the work keep the performer constantly rejuvenated and converted at least one listener to Beethoven last week. Continue reading

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A week of Peaks; Bach, Mozart, Beethoven.

A good week for music last week. It started off with Bach’s St.Matthew Passion in a luminous performance by the Houston Bach Society under the baton of Albert LeDoux. In such an ideal location (Christ The King Lutheran Church, with … Continue reading

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On performing the Goldberg Variations again

Recently I performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations in public again for the first time in seventeen years. I could not believe it had been that long. Yet there was the inescapable evidence. My last go was for the Philadelphia Bach Society in 1994. I had performed the work probably thirty times during the previous decade and a half, and then this was followed by a break of more than that. I felt I needed to approach the preparation of the work as if it were new. I looked everywhere for better ways of doing things. I sought out places which had always given me trouble, or had never felt entirely comfortable,changing hand positions and fingerings. I investigated new ornamentations and articulations, new relationships between variations, especially contiguous ones. And most of all I looked for ways to bring out the individual character of each variation as vividly as possible, bringing them to life in my imagination and with luck the imaginations of my listeners. Continue reading

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Welcome to my blog

Hello and welcome to my blog.

To coincide with the release of my double album devoted to Bach’s Goldberg Variations (CD1 is the performance, and CD2 my illustrated talk), and with my performance of the work in Houston on March 27, the first few posts will feature selected variations. Continue reading

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