Diabelli’s Variations and the Hugh Lane’s mysterious moving piano

American pianist Edmund Battersby, who gave the opening concert of the Dublin International Piano Festival at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Saturday, may well have felt at times that he was in some sort of movie scene rather than in a regular concert.

While he was playing, the piano began to move away from him. It wasn’t a full concert grand, and didn’t have lockable castors. The gallery has a shiny floor, and the instrument didn’t always manage to stay in its place. Battersby coped masterfully, making the necessary adjustments as if he were merely fixing his jacket or making himself more comfortable on the piano stool.

His savoir faire was all the more remarkable given that he was playing one of the most daunting works in the repertoire, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.

The story of these variations is well known. The composer and publisher Anton Diabelli decided to create a “patriotic anthology” by sending all the important Austrian composers of the day a simple waltz theme of his own for each to write a variation on.

Beethoven rejected Diabelli’s original idea, and described the theme as a “cobbler’s patch”. But he changed his mind and wrote a set of 33 variations, which Diabelli proudly published as a companion piece to the 50 variations he had received from other hands.

via Diabelli’s Variations and the Hugh Lane’s mysterious moving piano.

All 33 Variations

 

July 31 ~ Today in Music History

today

• 1828 ~ François Auguste Gevaert, Belgian composer, musicologist, conductor and organist

• 1845 ~ The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium.

• 1847 ~ Ignacio Cervantes, Pianist

• 1886 ~ Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist died. Originator of the symphonic poem, he was a prolific teacher and a huge influence on Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
More information about Liszt

• 1911 ~ George Liberace, Violinist, conductor; administrator of Liberace Museum; brother of pianist/entertainer Liberace

• 1918 ~ Jan La Rue, American musicologist

• 1918 ~ Hank Jones, Pianist. He accompanied Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald. He led the Hank Jones Trio

• 1919 ~ Mornam Del Mar, British conductor

• 1923 ~ Ahmet Ertegun, Recording Executive

• 1939 ~ John West, Musician, guitarist with Gary Lewis and the Playboys

• 1942 ~ Harry James and his band recorded the classic I’ve Heard that Song Before, for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest sang on the million-seller.

• 1943 ~ Lobo, Singer

• 1946 ~ Gary Lewis (Levitch), Singer with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, entertainer Jerry Lewis’ son

• 1946 ~ Bob Welch, Guitarist and singer with Fleetwood Mac

• 1947 ~ Karl Green, Musician, guitar and harmonica with Herman’s Hermits

• 1964 ~ Jim Reeves, popular U.S. country music singer, died in an aircrash near Nashville.

• 1985 ~ Prince was big at the box office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star, Purple Rain. The flick grossed $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name was the top LP in the U.S., as well.

Meet Charles Kester, Piano Entertainer

By Rick Runion
The Ledger

Published: Saturday, September 6, 2008

Charles Kester, 73, has been playing piano since he was 8 years old and stills plays every day for his own enjoyment.

 

 

CHARLES KESTER has been playing the piano since he was 8. Now he’s 73.

” I love music, that’s all there is to it”

Kester, who was born in Yeddo Indiana in 1935, is the subject of this month’s “Ageless Aging” series. Through this special project, Ledger videographer Rick Runion provides a look at older adults who have gifts and dreams they refuse to give up.

Kester has been married to Linda for 54 years and has two children, son Larry Kester of Lake Wales and daughter Jane Stringfellow of Winter Haven.

Kester worked for the railroad for 43 years and starting as a telegraph operator.

The Kesters started spending the winters in Polk County in the 1990s and moved here full-time in 2002.

Kester doesn’t read music but plays by ear. He has his own system of writing cords symbols, which helps him remember the key of the music he plays.

In the 1950s, Kester and his fellow musicians in Indiana began playing nursing homes and found out senior adults liked the same music he liked and says he is “not much up on the new music”. Some 50 years later Kester is still playing senior facilities and does not charge for his performances.

“My pay is they come up afterward, or you can go and shake their hand and (they) tell you they enjoyed it. That to me is the reason I do it”.

He passes out song books and calls his act “Sing along with Charlie”.

His audiences sing along with the songs of the 1930s and 1940s.

“They call out numbers and away we go”.

He says that even Alzheimer patients remember words to songs when they can’t remember a lot of things: “That’s one of the good things”.

Kesters even throws in jokes, “so it’s more of a show than it is straight music all the way.

“If you can make them smile or sing along with you, that’s what I was meant to do, I really feel that.”

This story appeared in print in The Ledger

July 30 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

• 1899 ~ Gerald Moore, British pianist and accompanist

• 1909 ~ Adolph Baller, Pianist

• 1926 ~ Martin Bookspan, American music critic, administrator and broadcaster

• 1929 ~ Christine McGuire, Singer with The McGuire Sisters

• 1936 ~ Buddy (George) Guy, Blues guitar, singer, on BBC TV

• 1941 ~ Buddy Guy, Blues Musician

• 1941 ~ Paul Anka, Canadian singer and songwriter of popular music. He composed Johnny’s Theme (Tonight Show Theme) and had 33 hits over 3 decades, including “Diana” and “Puppy Love”.

• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded the last of 90 recordings with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on Victor Records. His last side was There are Such Things, which became number one in January of 1943. Sinatra moved on as a solo singing sensation.

• 1942 ~ Stagedoor Canteen was first heard on CBS radio. The show was broadcast live from New York City and 500 servicemen were entertained each week by celebrities who freely donated their time for the war (WWII) effort.

• 1945 ~ David Sanborn, Grammy Award-winning musician, saxophone, flute, composer of the TV movie score to Finnegan Begin Again

• 1947 ~ Marc Bolan (Feld), Singer with T. Rex

• 1956 ~ Singer Brenda Lee recorded her first hit for Decca Records. Jambalaya and Bigelow 6-500 started a new career for the petite 11-year-old from Lithonia, GA (near Atlanta). Brenda Mae Tarpley (Brenda Lee) had been singing professionally since age six. She recorded 29 hit songs in the 1960s and became a successful country singer in 1971. Brenda Lee had a pair of number one tunes with I’m Sorry and I Want to be Wanted. She recorded a dozen hits that made it to the top 10.

• 1958 ~ Kate Bush, Singer

• 2002 ~ Leonard Litman, who ran two top Pittsburgh entertainment venues in the 1940s and ’50s that attracted stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Bill Haley’s Comets, died of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88. Litman owned Lenny Litman’s Copa, a nightclub that flourished in the city’s downtown from 1948 to 1959. Earlier, he ran the influential Mercur’s Music Bar. After the Copa closed in 1959, Litman continued to promote concerts and made a brief foray into sports in the 1960s when he and his brothers invested in an American Basketball League team. Litman worked as the Pittsburgh correspondent for Billboard Magazine from 1948 to 1960 and as a correspondent for Variety for decades.

Practicing the Piano – The Myth of the Instant Fix

practice-eat

 

When they make a mistake they hack away at it until it finally yields, and simply move on. What they have actually practised is getting it wrong three or four times in a row and right on the fifth attempt. What, then, are the chances of getting it right the first time in the context of the flow of the piece?

via Practising the Piano – The Myth of the Instant Fix.

July 29 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

• 1856 ~ Robert Schumann passed away.  Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist.
More information about Schumann

• 1887 ~ Sigmund Romberg, Hungarian-born American operetta composer, founding member of ASCAP. He was famous for his operettas “Desert Song”, “Maytime” and “Student Prince”

• 1916 ~ Charlie Christian, American guitarist and blues singer

• 1917 ~ Homer (Henry D. Haynes), Comedy singer, duo: Homer and Jethro

• 1925 ~ Mikis Theodorakis, Composer

• 1930 ~ Paul Taylor, Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Emmy Award-winning choreographer, Kennedy Center Honors in 1992 “…for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation.”

• 1933 ~ Randy Sparks, Folk singer, songwriter with the New Christy Minstrels

• 1935 ~ Peter Schreier, German tenor

• 1946 ~ Neal Doughty, Keyboards with REO Speedwagon

• 1953 ~ Geddy Lee, Bass, singer with Rush

• 1965 ~ The Queen of England attended the premiere of the motion picture, Help!, starring The Beatles. The command performance was held at the London Pavilion. The film later earned first prize at the Rio De Janeiro Film Festival in Brazil.  The Beatles later said the film was shot in a “haze of marijuana”. According to Starr’s interviews in The Beatles Anthology, during the Austrian Alps film shooting, he and McCartney ran off over the hill from the “curling” scene set to smoke a joint.

• 1966 ~ Martina McBride, Country singer

• 1970 ~ Sir John Barbirolli died. He was the British conductor of the Halle Orchestra, and was a famous interpreter of English music, Mahler and Italian opera.

• 1973 ~ Wanya Morris, Rock Singer

• 1974 ~ Singer “Mama” Cass Elliot, American folk-pop singer died.

Piano Maestro is Available at the O’Connor Music Studio

Piano Mania

The O’Connor Music Studio has a copy of this app if you (or your student) would like to try it during a lesson.

I see great potential with this app and think it could be useful for you at home.

It’s a fun game that can be used with a piano, the iPad or it can be hooked up to an electric keyboard.

Piano Maestro is free for all OCMS students to use on their own iPads at home.  Your student’s piano lesson books are most likely included to help the student learn the pieces – accompanied by a full backing track!

 

Read a review at Piano Mania Review » 148Apps » iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch App Reviews and News.