If you know anything about classical composers then you ought to know that Beethoven and Chopin had nothing to do with each other. They are both magnificent composers in their own right, but they lived at different times, in different countries, and their music compositions fall into entirely different classical genres. Continue reading “Beethoven Meets Chopin”
Leslie Hatfield and Huw Watkins Perform in Newton Abbot
If you are lucky enough to be spending this week around the gorgeous South Coast, then you might be pleased to know there is a rather interesting concert due to take place this coming Friday! A violin and piano duo of Leslie Hatfield and Huw Watkins will be taking to the stage at the Courtenay Centre in Newton Abbot. The concert starts at 7:30pm and tickets are priced from £10 to £15. More information about the concert and ticket purchases can be found on the Nasda Concerts website. Nasda are responsible for a number of classical music events on the South Coast and browsing their website might highlight some other interesting events to you. Continue reading “Leslie Hatfield and Huw Watkins Perform in Newton Abbot”
The internet has been going wild with the news that Justin Bieber has been playing ‘classical piano’. Although this is clearly an incredibly loose term being applied here, it appears that Bieber was indeed spotted playing (or at least, trying to play) Beethoven’s Fur Elise. Apparently the whole rendition was recognisable, but certainly not good.
This month’s nutty science digital piano has been unveiled! Utterly ridiculous in comparison to a conventional digital piano or electronic keyboard that you might find in your front room, we are now faced with something that has been dubbed a ‘ Bubble Piano ’. Of course, fascinating as these new innovations in digital pianos are, if you are looking for a beautiful instrument to adorn your house with, you should probably keep looking (try something like the Chase P-40 or the Chase CDP-350)…
Since 2010, the ‘ Street Piano ’ craze has taken off globally. The trend started with the ‘Play me I’m Yours’ art instillation which was created by Luke Jerram back in 2008. Somewhat different from playing your digital piano in the comfort of your own home, street pianos are proving to be just as popular. 15 old, donated pianos were placed across the city of Birmingham for three weeks, but by the end of the three weeks the pianos had become such a sensation that many cities across the country decided to have them installed on their streets permanently. Continue reading “Street Piano hype!”
Cartoon animations are peppered with the use of the digital piano as a vehicle for their success. The piano is often featured as a live creature with black and white keys for teeth and the full register of the piano for its wide smile. From the Black and White movies of the 1930s to present day, a menagerie of well-known creatures have adorned the piano stool. These include mice, rabbits, cats and those in human form. Here is a short but interesting insight into those that play the looney tunes on their digital pianos:
The ‘Digital Piano Tooners’ 1932
Many cartoons use the digital piano as part of the slap-stick act. The scene begins with the feint scratching’s of ‘His Masters Voice’ vinyl on the gramophone. The double act Tom and Jerry feature as a little and large duo in a sketch of 1932 called the ‘Piano Tooners’. They can both be seen in black and white singing the song ‘’Margie’’ whilst playing the digital piano and a broom (guitar or ukulele). The piano needs ‘tooning’ and many a gaff follows interspersed with musical interludes.
Bugs Bunny Plays Liszt
Likewise Bugs Bunny Franz Liszt this time in colour see Bugs sitting on his piano stool playing Liszt as he weaves through
the repertoire at speed. Of course the proverbial carrot prop allows appears followed by numerous implausible spoofs. Bugs’ silly antics include a 2 fingered trill that represent a telephone ringing. This is followed by a real phone ringing that is tucked just inside the digital piano case.
The Opry House
The Mickey Mouse Piano Solo of 1927 is a short black and white clip showing magical Mickey as he works his way through the “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor”. He wears white gloves so the audience can clearly see his movements on the digital piano keys. This is animation at its cutting edge as this cartoon makes way for ‘’Rhapsody in Rivets”, “The Cat Concerto” and “Rhapsody Rabbit’’. He finally battles with the piano and continues in his frustration to give the keys a good hammering. The digital piano retaliates and boots Mickey Mouse off the stage whilst he and the piano stool share a hearty laugh.
The series of Mr Beans Keyboard Capers Cartoons see him grapple with Beethoven’s Symphony V. The repetition of the first 8 notes see Mr Bean getting more and more frustrated as he picks up the piano stool in a fit of rage. His frumpy digital piano teacher leaves the room thinking he is starting to make progress as she can hear snatches of Eric Satie’s ‘Gymnopédie’. Mr Bean has a transistor radio hidden! Several hours and two teachers later there is no improvement. The climactic point is reached when Mr Bean uses a projector with an image of the great master himself reflected on the wall playing the fifth symphony. Mr Bean is seen synchronising his lack of talent as he plays the table!
This is yet another short summary of movies that are about talented piano players or the digital piano itself.
The Seventh Veil’ Film Plot(1945)
This is a fictional film about a talented digital piano player Francesca Cunningham. The title of the film refers to the number of veils that were removed as she recounts her life through ill-fated episodes. The seventh number may have an analogy with the seven layer of human skin and be a reference to Francesca’s deepest and most traumatic experiences.
Continuing the alphabetical listings of the lives of digital piano players (tongue in cheek) exploring letter I:
Immortal Beloved (1994)
So here we are again with yet another film about Beethoven; his ‘deafness and his demons.’ On Beethoven’s death his assistant and friend Schindler, is left to put his estate in order. Amongst his papers are three letters addressed to Beethoven’s ‘’immortal love’’. The film draws itself round Schlindler’s mission to discover who she is. This is carried out through flashbacks into Beethoven’s life from his prodigy years at the digital piano to his death. He finds it to be Johanna Riess who has given birth to Beethoven’s son.
Throughout the film Beethoven’s music can be heard from digital piano sonatas to concertos all composed by the master himself. Two of his most celebrated compositions cannot go unmentioned:
The unmistakable ‘Moonlight Sonata’ can be heard with its resounding ‘gong-like’ bass line echoing in step-wise movement. It forewarns of darker days ahead as the semi breves descend down the digital piano. In the right-hand the adagio triplets – not to be rushed – underlie the dotted-rhythm motif that is known to all.
‘Fur Elise’ is charmingly executed with its light-hearted, repetitive motif heard in the right-hand. This is complimented by the ascending arpeggios of the left-hand. The lulling motion of the hands is such that the two ‘meet in the middle’ of the digital piano on several occasions and is perhaps significant of Beethoven’s life and loves. Continue reading “The Digital Piano Plays Its Part – V”