Brahms – Symphony No. 4

Johannes Brahms

Let’s go back in time for this week’s Listen To This!. We are in 1884, in a small Austrian town called Mürzzuschlag. In fact we’re more in 1885 than 1884 because today we’re speaking of the 4th movement of the 4th symphony of the most bearded composer of all times: Johannes Brahms. Yes, Brahms spent his 1884 and 1885 summers writing the marvelous E minor symphony, his last one. What so special about it? Well, keep reading. Read more …

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Recording 3.0: Rethinking the way we work

While Editing

Over the last weeks I have been expressing lots of controversial ideas and swimming against the tide. I needed to set up the scenery before detailing some specific actions. I made my case about the bad working conditions of musicians and how these force us to lower our expectations and, far worse, the quality of our work. I also spoke last week about the musician’s lack of interest for other media as art forms and his/her wrong obsession with a dying art form: the concert. Of course, this has consequences on the way I work, especially in studio. Today, I’d like to share today some of the changes I’ll be operating in the following weeks concerning one of my prefered medium: recordings. Read more …

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Marc Yeats – Pagan II

Marc Yeats, Composer

It’s not a secret anymore that Marc and I are going to spend a lot of time working together in the next 2 years. First there will be the premiere of his impressive cycle for piano called The magical control of rain and surely some more large-scale pieces that I can’t talk about yet! Since I decided to premier some of his pieces it means that I love the music he writes and want you to love it too! What a coincidence, this is exactly the aim of this series ;-) So week 4 of our series Listen To This! dedicated to Pagan II for orchestra by Marc Yeats. Read more …

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A coffee with … Mary Matz

Mary Matz

I have one thing to say: launching a new project is always really exciting. And I’m excited to present the first opus of my “A coffee with …” series, a series of short interviews with people who usually don’t answer questions in front of a camera. My aim is to focus on the content and not on the container (you’ll see this theme coming up a lot here in the following months!). So, the setup is simple: my phone as a camera, a basic digital recorder for the sound. And what would have been a better target for this first episode than the editor of an online music magazine? Interviewing the interviewer, what a funny and comfortable situation for me! My first guest was Mary Matz, editor of Opus Osm, the paperless monthly magazine about Czech classical music, opera, and ballet. Read more …

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Stop building up frustration, be a happy musician!

The monkey piano player

Concert pianist is an awkward appellation, I never could get used to it. I was sometimes forced to put that somewhere and didn’t like it at all, it is far too restrictive. It’s not a secret, I’m not very interested in this so-called glamorous life. I think this is more than obvious: I scarcely ever appear on stage and never did much to change that, but definitely have been doing a lot (consciously and unconsciously) to keep it that way. I was once fascinated by concert pianists and wanted to join the team really badly, but this was until I finally got into the business and realized what the job really consisted in and how it was incompatible with my beliefs and my idea of music. Read more …

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Playing the piano from memory … or not?

Sviatoslav Richter playing solo with a score

The last 2 posts have been extremely thought provoking and we all need a week to breathe and think about them. So no controversial post this week, but questioning the validity of a tradition that have been going on for almost two centuries. For years, I’ve been hearing colleagues asking me why I was always playing the piano from memory even when I could have the score in front of my eyes. In his last years, Richter did it and convincingly spoke about it. Why should I bother? If Richter thought it was convenient, I should probably back off and follow the master’s path. Yes, reading instead of remembering each note and indication of a score can seem easier. At least that’s what the temptation snake made me believe when he planted this idea in my head.
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