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Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

The first time I ever worked on a Bach dance movement I felt like I had encountered an alien landscape. I had grown up on Bach chorales but somehow those sober, staid, and reverent tunes just did not help me with the dances. Of course, I am the person who was laughed out of . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

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Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Un-Coordination (plus a bonus)

Early in my college career, I was working on the Bach Toccata in E Minor and getting totally frustrated. I watched my fellow students breeze through their Bach. I was raised as a card carrying Lutheran and teethed on Bach. I had certainly sung plenty of cantatas in my early years.

So why was I . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Un-Coordination (plus a bonus)

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Playing With Wolfgang: Bach’s Groove

“I just can’t get the beats to this song. Where is the groove?”, said one of my college class piano students. I had a moment of panic. My eyes must have glazed over because he said, “I’m sorry my question is irritating but I really don’t understand.” “No,” I said, “I’m not upset with you, . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Bach’s Groove

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Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

A few years ago I got out Thoreau from Ives’ Concord Sonata and decided to discover it. As you all know I’m a sucker for pieces about the outdoors, plus there’s that flute solo which is quite delicious. For several reasons the project was never completed and the piece languished near the bottom of my . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

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Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Night Music

I’ll admit it. I’m a complete nerd for certain kinds of music. A while back, I was listening to a new album by Nils Anders Mortensen (look for more on this in an upcoming review). All the works on the CD are tied together by their connections to the outdoors. And yes, outdoor music would . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Night Music

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Playing With Wolfgang: Harpsichording with Rameau & Couperin

I remember clearly my first meeting with a harpsichord. I was in my first semester of music history and my assigned presentation was to demonstrate French harpsichord music for the class. My piano teacher was friends with Howard Ferguson and was excited to introduce me to the instrument and to Rameau and Couperin.

The harpsichord . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Harpsichording with Rameau & Couperin

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Playing With Wolfgang: Suites for the 4th!

I count myself very lucky that my undergrad teacher passed his love of 20th Century American music down to me. He himself had studied with Johana Harris at Colorado Springs and always maintained that the summers, when premier mid-century American composers would come to work, play, teach, and commune with each other, were the best . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Suites for the 4th!

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Playing With Wolfgang: Schubert Interrupted

We all know that it is rude to interrupt a person when they are speaking. Most of us learned this early in our lives. Later, we discovered that there are exceptions to the non-interruption rule, such as Great Uncle Herbert droning on for a half hour about that crop of petunias he raised in 1947.

. . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Schubert Interrupted

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Playing With Wolfgang: Frank “SugarChile” Robinson

In the last few days quite a few people have sent me emails that include a video of a boy playing astounding boogie and the claim that he is a young Little Richard. To give credit where it is due, this video is actually of Frank “SugarChile” Robinson. Frank was born in Detroit and was . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Frank “SugarChile” Robinson

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Playing With Wolfgang: Ravel in Pi

This Valentine’s morning, as I browsed through my Twitter feed, I was instantly transported back to one spring semester during my undergraduate days. The tweet went like this:

A Strauss waltz requires a slightly longer downbeat, about 1.14 longer than beats 2 & 3. Thus, you should conduct not in 3, but in pi. (@mmusing)

. . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Ravel in Pi

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Playing With Wolfgang: Fliszt

http://www.atheart.in

I was a practical child. I always needed to know what something was for. My favorite question was why? My Dad sang a popular nonsense song to me when I was 6 or 7 and I remember how frustrated he was that I didn’t understand the silliness and wanted to try to make . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Fliszt

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Playing With Wolfgang: Debussy – Footsteps, Long Hair, & Fans

Footsteps in the Snow

One weekend, many years ago, as I was preparing for my Master’s Recital (I will leave the many up to your imagination but please, dear reader, be kind), my now husband decided that I was about to crack and needed a day away from the piano. I did not agree and . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Debussy – Footsteps, Long Hair, & Fans

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Playing With Wolfgang 1.1: Clara & Robert Sitting In A Tree

I have always secretly had it in for Clara Schumann. There was that Trio that I was forced to work on for an entire semester and then there is the fact that Clara was performing concerts from memory at the ripe old age of 9, the first person ever to do so. Later, she was . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang 1.1: Clara & Robert Sitting In A Tree

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Playing With Wolfgang

No one was more surprised than I when I conceived of the Menuetto to my Mozart Sonata as a heated discussion between a married couple. When I talked about it, my musical friends gave me funny smiles and quickly began to discuss the weather. I second guessed myself while driving to school and decided that . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang

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