The art of understanding the ordinary
Understanding the ordinary:There is definitely nothing ordinary about the keyboard music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, which forms an important but too often overlooked bridge between the high baroque of his father's circle and the emerging classicism of Haydn and Mozart. And there is nothing ordinary in the playing of the Croatian pianist Ana-Marija Markovina whose discerning interpretations on a 'modern' Bösendorfer are faithfully captured in Hänssler Classics' 26 CD anthology of C.P.E. Bach's complete works for solo piano. But in an age when the classical promotion machine practises its own nuanced version of 'if it bleeds it leads', I suspect that this admirably bleed-free release will be misguidedly judged ordinary. The TAO tells us* that understanding the ordinary opens the mind. And listening to Ana-Marija Markovina playing C.P.E. Bach also opens the mind.
Not understanding the ordinary:
Blindness creates evil.
Understanding the ordinary:
Mind opening leads to compassion,
Compassion to nobility,
Nobility to heavenliness,
Heavenliness to TAO
* Quotation is from Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo's purist translation of Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching. No review samples used in this post. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.
I have lamented the demise of the independent record store here many times, and my favourite store Prelude Records closes its doors for the last time this week. But I am guilty of hastening that demise by buying online, simply because the price differentials are too significant to ignore.
The whole pricing and distribution structure of classical music is a mess. In the short term those of us who are not flowed review copies benefit from these pricing anomalies between territories. But long term it will undermine the recorded classical music industry, and that is to nobody's benefit.
Aimard played Scriabin and Debussy and Julian Anderson. All played Bechstein pianos. The Liszt piece he played sounded glorious. The whole concert sounded wonderful once Aimard stopped forcing the tone, stopped trying to be a Steinway.
So modern composers play Bechstein. Many of the old masters played Bechstein. Occasional virtuosity, such as Angela Hewitt or Demidenko, play Faziolis, and mitsuko Uchida brings her personal Steinway to Wigmore. Willem Brons played Bechstein at the Concertgebouw. There must be a story about Steinway getting the monopoly and it probably links back to 1914-18. Has this ever struck you as an intriguing Subject?