Fun fun piano – Prokofiev Sonata 2

4 03 2010

I spent much of this evening listening to Scriabin and Prokofiev, two sensational 20th-century modern but relatively accessible Russian composers. They can be super fun, though sometimes difficult. The piece below is the fourth movement of Prokofiev’s second piano sonata. It’s a piece I have enjoyed trying to play, and this movement is my favorite. It is just so much fun! Now, of course, I cannot play it this fast or well, but it has lots of patterns, so it’s not that crazy to understand, it’s just hard to get your fingers to move that fast consistently.

The basic organization is Crazy – Beautiful – Crazy, a classic ABA sonata structure. The recap (crazy #2) starts to fragment the themes and intersplice them (something my favorite composer Nikolai Medtner does a lot of). This piece fulfills the two main criteria I tend to like in music: beauty and technical complexity. It should keep your left and right brains active. If it feels too nuts, wait for the 1:45 mark, where the pretty stuff starts. I like to play that section.

Just got my piano tuned yesterday, so now I’m reconnecting to the instrument again!


My 5 star list (from iTunes)

8 12 2009

Below is a list of the songs in my current iTunes library that I have given 5 stars. The star system isn’t the best indication of being my favorites, but it works well enough. It basically means I liked it enough to bother making the note. I might feel a little differently about some of them now, but in general there are some great songs in there. I’ll probably talk about a few of those in more detail in days to come.

Aerodynamic Daft Punk Discovery
Ageing Had Never Been His Friend Love Is All Nine Times That Same Song
Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl Broken Social Scene You Forgot It In People
Autumn Sweater Yo La Tengo I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
The Bleeding Heart Show The New Pornographers Twin Cinema
Blue Balloon Robby Benson Jeremy
Blue Ridge Mountains Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
The Book of Right-On Joanna Newsom
boy from school Hot Chip The Warning
Boyscout’n Menomena Friend And Foe
Dance The Way I Feel Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
El Pico Ratatat Ratatat
The End Of You Too Metronomy Nights Out
Faxing Berlin (Piano Version) Deadmau5 Faxing Berlin
Femme et Enfant (feat. Sebastien Tellier) Rob Dodecalogue Vol. IV : Jude Thadée – Get Free Music at RCRD
Fingers of Steel (Hypnolove Remix) Sebastien Tellier
First Day Of My Life Bright Eyes I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Float On Modest Mouse Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Flume Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
Frontier Psychiatrist The Avalanches Since I Left You
fumble Architecture In Helsinki Fingers Crossed
Fun Girl (Worldwarwalter Remix) Jessica 6 Fun Girl Remixes – Get Free Music at RCRD
General Motors, Detroit, America (Black Strobe Remix) Acid Washed General Motors, Detroit, America – Get Free Music at RCRD
Ghost Dancer Mille
Happy Up Here Royksopp Junior
Kids MGMT Oracular Spectacular
Knife Grizzly Bear Yellow House
L’amour et la violence (Boys Noize Remix) Sébastien Tellier L’amour et la violence
L’amour et la Violence [Boys Noize Euro mix] Sebastien Tellier
La Valse D’Amélie (Version Piano) Yann Tiersen Amelie From Montmartre
Little Girl [ft. Julian Casablancas] Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Dark Night of the Soul
Lump Sum Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
The Mariner’s Revenge Song The Decemberists Picaresque
Mi Basta Chiudere Gli Occhi E Nino Rota Juliet Of The Spirits OST
My Little Corner Of The World Yo La Tengo I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
Needle in the Hay Elliott Smith Elliott Smith
A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left Andrew Bird Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs
New Slang The Shins oh, inverted world
Opposite Day Andrew Bird Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs
Pom Pom Matthew Dear Asa Breed
Pon de floor (Chewy Chocolate Cookies Remix) Major Lazer THERATCATCHERS.COM
Pursuit of Happiness (Benny Benassi Remix) Kid Cudi, MGMT & Ratatat
Re Stacks Bon Iver
Remind Me – Geico Version
Saint Mary Sparklehorse Good Morning Spider
Satan Said Dance Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Some Loud Thunder
Secret Pint Mogwai Rock Action
Shadows (Claes Rosen Bootleg) Pryda
Skinny Love Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
souvenirs Architecture In Helsinki Fingers Crossed
Stockholm Syndrome Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
Symphony No. 3, Movement IV Philip Glass/Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra Symphony No. 3
Tables And Chairs Andrew Bird Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs
TEPR – Minuit Jacuzzi (Data Remix) TEPR Ever Better –
This Could Be Beautiful (It Is) Metronomy Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe)
Tourist Julian Casablancas Phrazes For The Young
Track 18
Waves (Chilly Gonzales Piano Remake) Erol Alkan & Boys Noize Waves (Rework)
What Do I Do Now? Metronomy Not Made for Love EP
When You Talk The Twelves
You Can’t Hurry Love The Concretes The Concretes
1 Sonata:  Allegro Non Troppo – Con Moto N. Medtner Medtner: Complete Piano Sonatas & Forgotten Melodies (Disk 1)
2 Rights Make 1 Wrong Mogwai Rock Action
02-White Tooth Man Iron & Wine
09-Boy With A Coin Iron & Wine

18th/19th/20th/21st century versions of remixing the same Paganini theme

30 11 2009

These days, there are a lot of remixes and mashups of popular songs out there. Hypemachine is filled with these kinds of adaptations of existing music to new forms and formats. It’s great; I love the stuff. Most of the music I’ve been listening to recently is remixes. In fact, it’s one of the ways I’ve been discovering different kinds of music.

But the idea that it’s new is way off. I thought I’d tell a similar story from the 19th and 20th centuries with a theme by Paganini, which was later interpreted by Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Lutoslawski. Liszt and Brahms are early Romantic-era composers, Rachmaninov is a late Romantic composer flush with all of that era’s intensity of emotion and lyricism, and Lutoslawski is a much more modern composer, and it shows. And don’t miss the electronic dance version at the end!

It’s fascinating to watch how the different composers take and then reinterpret the same theme. Here are the tracks for your listening pleasure. I’d love to hear what you think!

The original Paganini violin piece:





or in mp3 form:

And if you want to hear a pretty sweet remixed electronic take on the same thing, check this track by Hot Pink Delorean out. It’s pretty sweet!