Selection of the week

It doesn’t get much better than this – Pianist Rudolf Serkin playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.  The appropriate superlatives do not exist.

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3 thoughts on “Selection of the week

  1. Out of curiosity, how did you acquire such love for this piece and/or performance? Did you have much exposure in your childhood? Did (do) you play an instrument? I enjoyed this piece, but not at the same level as I have enjoyed certain other pieces. I’m wondering because Nike Wagner (great‑granddaughter of Richard Wagner and great-great‑granddaughter of Franz Liszt) recently commented in Deutsche Welle that, “classical music, in the widest sense, has always been written and intended for a minority audience.” (See http://www.dw.com/en/nike-wagner-the-classical-music-audience-is-changing/a-18572744). I don’t understand exactly what she meant, but I am a minority in my family by having a strong love for classical. I can still get chills from certain pieces (mostly Beethoven or Prokofiev). However, as a child, I was not exposed to anyone’s passion for it. No classical recordings in my home. Never went to a concert. My path began with my father who played one single Beethoven sonata on piano (learned when he was a child), and I quickly learned it and wanted more. I happened to get a record of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, and I was hooked for the rest of my life. Sadly, my kids have come to love pop music while finding classical too boring. I play it for them on piano and the CD player, but they tire of it quickly. So I’m wondering what it takes. I suspect that my path is less common, and that a large childhood exposure is necessary. Seems like instrument lessons are crucial, but what else?

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  2. @chris I played several instruments as a child and teen but never became very accomplished on any. I was never very dedicated to practicing and my parents never pushed me. I am pleased that my daughter has become quite accomplished on the violin (with a lot of my encouragement), although she much prefers to listen to pop over classical. I used to listen to recordings of Serkin and Ormandy (though never together) as a child. To me Ormandy is one of the greatest conductors ever. He directly followed the legendary Leopold Stokowski (of Bugs Bunny and Disney fame) at the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rudolf Serkin is also one of my favourite pianists, so seeing them together near the peak of their careers is such a treat for me. I have also always loved Mozart’s No. 21 even though it is kind of overplayed. I just find it exhilarating to see performances by people born in the 19th century.

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  3. i find all this stuff interesting conceptually. main classical music i like was stravinsky and debussy, and some chopin in movie soundtracks. stravinsky’s ‘rites of spring’ was booed off the stage (sortuh my style—when i play i am heckled and asked to leave—people were expectig to hear folk style love songs/elevator muzack). i mostly listen to old 60’s folk/pop/rock (since i missed most of it) , old negative punk rock (decline and fall of western civilization, sid vicious, VU , a la spengler) and more recent gangsta rap and dcgogo music. i also listen to wood thrushes in the woods, and streams. i saw a great band last week—had a sitar player (classical indian music) a violinist, also of indian descent but who knew both indian classical and european classical—she was reading music too, a tabla player, a keyboardist and a local dc person (straight up SE) playing rythymn on spoons. i think music is like food or science—there are essentially different species which find sustenance in different kinds which others find poisonous.

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