Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chopin Nocturnes Complete - Brigitte Engerer

How was it possible for the world to have ignored Brigitte Engerer? Born in 1952 and passed in 2012 and what a legacy! Listen to these flawless performances of the most beloved works of Chopin. She plays them exactly as we'd all wish to play them, makes it all sound easy and elegant and graceful and magical and wonderful. The piano she used was in spectacular prep to get some of the subtle effects she elicits, especially in the many famous pianissimo moments. Enjoy!

Chopin Mazurkas Complete

 Chris Breemer has done us the estimable favour of placing his performances of the complete cycle of Mazurkas by Frédéric Chopin. A great thank-you goes out to him. We'd heartily encourage more accomplished pianists to do the same with other series in the great classical piano literature so that more of us could get their sense of the sweep of the music through each composer's particular progress through their creative journeys. The Mazurkas are among Chopin's most idiomatic compositions, some of them contain the most strikingly modern of his style elements. Emjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Khachaturian: Masquerade Suite

There was supposed to be some text that went with this post, so here it is. Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) is identified as a “Soviet composer of Armenian extraction.” He was born and raised in Tblisi, Georgia. He moved to Moscow in 1921 (he would have been in his late teens), he studied music there and by 1936 wrote his first great work, his piano concerto (he would have been in his early thirties). He wrote a lot of orchestral music over the next twenty years including this featured work in 1941.

Now, we all know what was going on in the world of 1941 and probably so did Khachaturian. What's actually not so surprising is that this music seems to fit similar realities being played out on the present social political scene in the world of 2015. While this really is a good performance of this work, its context here is what the music said about the times it was written and what it suggests to us today. These sorts of associations tend to give greater relevance to music written closer to our own time. There may be many out there who may not regard Khachaturian as either a very important or significant composer, but I'd suggest that his music expresses much that is inherently and incontestably part of that emotional realism that falsely and mistakenly is passed off as merely “romantic,” as if to suggest fantasy or fiction. No way! Khachaturian in his own special way was contributing to and extending the drive for expressing emotional realism in music, and in this particular composition, of a lot of fake and crazy emotions connected with false gallantry, heroism and war posturing. Bear all that in mind as you get acquainted once again with an old orchestral war horse of a composition from a time, very sadly and foolishly, very much like our own.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Decoding the Ice Age Floods - Wallula Gap" Graham Hancock interviews Randall Carlson

Graham Hancock - “As regular visitors to this page will know I had the privilege of making a lengthy research trip across the northern states of the US in September/October with leading catastrophist investigator Randall Carlson. The video linked here is the first of a series from our research trip that we will be releasing. I made the trip in order to learn from Randall and I am pleased that these videos will allow many others to learn and benefit from his extensive, hard-won knowledge as well. Randall is a brilliant teacher and as we travelled through the scablands and the coulees together, and stood above Wallula Gap -- 'the gathering of the waters' featured here -- he opened my eyes to the extent of the catastrophic flooding that afflicted North America at the end of the last Ice Age. The old model of multiple fillings and emptyings of Glacial Lake Missoula simply cannot account for the scale of the damage. The new evidence for a comet impact on the North American ice sheet, which I will be presenting in 'Magicians of the Gods', the sequel I am now writing to 'Fingerprints of the Gods', is the answer and opens a completely new window on the much wider mystery that has been the focus of my attentions for the last 25 years -- the mystery of earth's lost civilisation."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eleventh Interview - Of Ancient Time, Time and Today

This interview is going to touch on some of the recent turns in your blog. It seems to me prophetic that the Serpent in the Sky, the title of the book by John Anthony West, represents choice as in the Garden of Eden story, eating of the tree in the end offered freedom, a transgression that God set up right there for man/woman to be taboo and thusly admired and also talked into eating by the said snake or dragon then who ended up being a snake to move on it's belly.
Well, all that is very interesting. John West, who both of us have known personally and who I regard as a friend and one of those few people who have made an impression on me, has always been involved with the meanings expressed in symbols, particularly in ancient Egypt, probably a kind of language and a manner of thinking that would seem entirely foreign to modern people. We can really only guess how they thought and how their thoughts affected the way they saw the world. Suffice it to say, it was very different from the way we see our own.
It seems strange that Moses carried with him the symbol of snakes on a pole and then it also became representative of medicine. Man and nature and symbols are strange, and telling. Then this about the heavy rains or waters that covered the Sphinx, perhaps the flood that killed all but Noah's kids and wives...(don't bother seeing new 2014 movie's really bad)...I hoped that perhaps the latest Moses Exodus movie would be better, but Hollywood changes the symbols and I just saw it and it does suck! Anyway, it is also interesting that you are helping John Anthony West with this.
Well, I guess I would be willing to let the people who read my blog know about John West and his work. That also goes for some other researchers like Graham Hancock and Anne Tittensor. There are at least a half dozen or more researchers along similar lines of enquiry, whose books and work I consider worth reading. I am willing to help publicize their efforts because they represent a cutting edge on matters concerning recovering the facts concerning our own history. I think we should all be curious where we came from and generally we know very little, maybe back to the times and personalities of our great grandparents if we are lucky.
Can tourists still travel to Egypt safely?
With John? I'm sure that he still conducts tours though maybe fewer. I suppose tourists are as safe there as they would be in Europe at this time, or even America or Canada.
Did you ever go to Egypt with John?
No, and for a variety of reasons having to do with my eyesight and how that may impact my awareness of things around me in foreign countries, and all the heat and sunshine, which is not good for me either, it was never anything I contemplated doing. 
What happened to the Great Composers series? Surely great classical music didn't stop with Anton Bruckner.
No, of course not. The next person on the list would normally be Johann Strauss Jr. the Waltz King. After him would come Brahms. But I have hesitated going forward because maybe I feel that Strauss has fallen out of the top tier within the last fifty years or so. You know how music that may be tremendously popular during one epoch, as his was, sounds dated decades later.
It all sounds dated to me, but I like some of it, but as you know I really find it offensive for some music to play with my emotions, as some of the “romantic” music does.
Yes, and I'm sure that other people like that music more precisely because it plays with their emotions. I see a certain parallel with people's fascination with horror movies. You know that I am one who can't stand them.
Yes, but you do like Film Noir, though that's not really the same thing.
Right, not at all.
Well, every kind of music seems to go through cycles, why do you think that is?
I think it has to do with the individual listener's cognitive appreciation for music. You notice that even the music from what we may consider “primitive” cultures seems to have its day and then fades. Ska, reggae and maybe even genuine bluegrass seem to, so why not classical music? The appalling thing about classical music appreciation to me is that there is so much of it that used to be programmed that is simply mediocre music, by any standard, fit only to serve as “background ambiance,” like something one hears in doctor's or dentist's offices. It's turned down real low and you aren't supposed to pay close attention to it at all.
Elevator music. Yes. (laughs)
I actually met someone years ago in Atlanta who played piano and organ and directed music for a big church who described what he did as elevator music.
Like an elevator to heaven? (laughs) I gather you didn't get anywhere with that offer to teach people Beethoven. Too much work for most people. Some of that music is just so old anyway.
Yeah, Bach and Scarlatti is even older. This time of year we used to hear a lot of Renaissance music, as if that had something more to do with Christmas. Don't hear much of that anymore.
(more laughs) So are you changing, or what? I thought this blog was supposed to be about your interest in classical music, pianos, etc.
Well, when I was a child I was a rock hound, sort of, kind of. Remember?
Yeah, you had all those labelled little rocks in little plastic cube displays and had them all in the garage. You had all the other kids come and look at your rocks. Remember?
Yeah, dumb hunh? (laughs)
It's amazing how things we used to think were so cool turn out to seem dumb to us later. (more laughs)
Yeah, and it would be dumb. That's what you'd say to keep someone from coming over.
Well, I never remembered that.
No, that was for some other of my friends. (laughs) Anyway, one of the latest posts here had to do with the discovery of the largest known carved megalith (that's a huge stone, ok?) so I guess I'm still interested in rocks.
They can tell us things about our past?
Yeah, maybe. Then again, perhaps we'll never know. One thing's for sure though, we'll never get the truth from the usual academic sources because they have an agenda, a view of the past and our position in history that they badly need to preserve. It's noticed how much most “science” is just another religion as the people who support it react with the same spite as those in the past who yelled “heretic” at anyone who disagreed with them. Peer review, you know.
So how you doing without a piano?
Managing, but my hands feel clumsy. It's been a few months now. 
Yikes, I couldn't stand to be away from my instrument that long.
I'll recover my chops. I've had a hiatus such as this a few times. 
You still open to teaching?
Piano? Of course.
Guess you'll have to wait til you get home.
Seems likely.
Been to Fandrich's yet?
No, have to set that up, transportation, etc. I expect to arrange it before I leave this area.
Well anyway. Thanks for Blog...interesting. Oh, is there anything you want to leave us with?
There was just something one of my fellow alternative researchers had to say regarding our present culture.
What culture?
Exactly. He said something like this: that America's culture was culture the lack of any established culture and moral law, infused with the cultures of most other nations.
Yeah, commercialism. If there's no money in it, why do it? Reduces everything to seven minute sound bite songs that don't interfere with the senseless and continuous spewing forth of commercials...and some dare to call it a culture.
Yeah, and it's everywhere and affects everything.
And people take their selfies and post them and life goes on. Doesn't give much space for any real music, artistry or for that matter pianos, does it. Thought of doing something else?
Yeah, sometimes I think I'll return to fine art and take up painting again. Maybe this time, I'll confine my work to large canvases of landscapes, you know the kind of stuff they hang in banks?
You're kidding.
No, I've thought about doing it.
What else?
Well, if a friend of mine ever gets to open his own restaurant, maybe I'd be a chef there. I could do worse. You know I did function as an institutional cook for a while when I attended summer school during college in Berkeley. They loved what I did there.
Interesting. Well anyway, you have a nice blog. Interesting.