Saturday, October 30, 2010


It's the most wonderful time of the year... ConcART time!

Our first art-show-slash-recital was in October, 2008. We followed that up with ConcART II in November, 2009. Both were more successful than we dared hope. Now we're just two weeks away from ConcART III, which will be held Sunday, November 14, 2010.

Johanne has been busy with pastels and oils (including some great explorations with the palette knife). I've been busy 'shedding for the recital part. There are some challenging bits, but I really, really like this program.
  1. Hungarian Dance No.2 -- Johannes Brahms
  2. Air and Variations (The Harmonious Blacksmith) -- George Frideric Handel
  3. Pastorale/Renaissance No.8 -- Arcangelo Corelli/Leopold Godowsky
  4. Tonadas No.24 - Muiñeira (Galicia) -- Joaquin Nin-Culmell
  5. Myrthen Op.25 No.1/Widmung -- Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt
  6. Danza Ritual del Fuego -- Manuel de Falla
Come to Austin, see the show!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Video: Rachmaninoff--Prelude Op.23 No.5

After the first ConcART recital (in October, 2008), someone asked me if I had ever played any of the great Russian composers. I decided then and there that I'd answered "no" to that question for the last time. So I started hunting and in December, 2008 decided on this Prelude by Sergei Rachmaninoff. I figured "I've got ten months to learn it for the next ConcART... no problem".

Well, I may have underestimated the piece, or overestimated my skill, because I don't think ten months was quite enough, given my short, after-work practice schedule. I did play it at ConcART-II in November, 2009, and it went well enough. But I promised myself I'd work it a little harder for the video. So I gave it a half-year's rest and started over.

Overall, I'm happy I learned the piece, because it fills what was an obvious gap in my repertoire. It's a beautiful piece and it's fun to play, even if it serves up the occasional trainwreck. And I learned something else from this piece, too. Rachmaninoff had really big hands.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Video: Albéniz--El Puerto (HD)

El Puerto was the first piece I recorded when I got my piano back in the summer of 2008. Two years later I finally got around to redoing it in HD with a good audio recording.

Isaac Albéniz wrote twelve pieces (four books of three) in his masterpiece, the Iberia suite. El Puerto is the second piece in book one. It's a very special piece for me, not just because I love it so much and I played it so much in my youth. Iberia was also a favorite of my teacher, Douglas Voice, who performed all twelve pieces in concert. Douglas passed away in 1998. I still think about him just about every time I play this piece.

I'm quite happy with the video. There's a lot that can go wrong in this piece. But this performance is pretty clean.