Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy First Pianoversary

I thought I should celeblog the first anniversary of the delivery of my piano. It was one year ago yesterday (May 30) that it arrived. I play it every day and love it more than ever. It's been a dream come true. Here's to you, piano!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Impromptu Recital

My good friends Bruce and Claudia Porter saw their youngest (Ben) get married last Saturday. Johanne and I went to the wedding, which was held at The Mansion in Austin. It was a great ceremony, dinner and party and we're really happy for Ben and his bride Alejandra Rodriguez. (As an aside, Alejandra, who goes by "Ale" for short, has just inherited the best beer name ever: "Ale Porter").

The Mansion, as you'd expect, has several big rooms with pianos. They have a little Hardman baby grand (one of the huge cast of decent early twentieth century American piano makers). Another room has a Steinway M or L (couldn't quite tell which just looking at it -- it was old enough that the model stamp wasn't in the usual place and the L is only 3.5" longer than the M). But the star is a Baldwin SD10 9' concert grand. The photo shows the actual piano in its room at The Mansion.

After the bride and groom left, we were standing around and somebody suggested that it wasn't too late for me to check out the SD10. So a few of us went in for an impromptu recital. I played Ernesto Halffter's Danza de la Pastora, Alberto Ginastera's Danza del Gaucho Matrero and the second movement of Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata. It was late and I was tired, but it went well. My small audience insisted on one more, so I played Enrique Granados' Laments, or the Maiden and the Nightingale (Quejas, ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor).

Everyone seemed to enjoy the performance. As much as I did? Maybe. :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Recital

I've mentioned here that I'd like to find more opportunities to perform. So I jumped when Steinway Guy asked me to play at a recital of his students on May 31. It's a great opportunity to play for a larger audience and I thought it would give me a chance to test-drive a couple new pieces. The recital will be at the Steinway Piano Gallery, hopefully on the D!

I asked SG if he had any preferences, or if there was an overall theme to the program. He said I could play anything I like. But then a few weeks ago he mentioned that it would be good if I could play something the audience would recognize. But not Für Elise or the Moonlight Sonata. And the pieces shouldn't be too long, since there will be a lot of kids in the audience. But they should be technically challenging to show the students what you can do if you practice your scales and technique.

Of course, I have nothing that fits all those criteria. And it seemed a little late to learn something brand new. But then it hit me! The Mozart Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" would be perfect. I've never really learned them, but I've noodled around with them enough over the years that I was confident I could put them together in time. I'll also play Pastora and Gaucho Matrero, which the audience surely won't recognize, but are short, fast and very entertaining.
  1. Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
  2. Danza de la Pastora (Ernesto Halffter)
  3. Danza del Gaucho Matrero (Alberto Ginastera)
I sent the program to SG and he loves it. So there you go. I'm committed.