Sunday, September 29, 2013

The pianist who played at his own baptism

How is this for a curiosity? Though we did not have dig deep to find it. It is sitting right out there on Wikipedia.

It is about Dinu Lipatti. That is Lipatti up above, with his wife, Madeleine.

"For his baptism, which occurred not shortly after birth as is usual, but when he was old enough to play the piano, the violinist and composer George Enescu agreed to be his godfather. Lipatti played a minuet by Mozart at his own baptism."

How odd!

I tried Googling around but all I found are those same clumsy couple of sentences, echoed over and over. The only other thing I found was in some book on Google Books, which said that Lipatti's baptism was delayed by the onset of World War I. That sounds kind of strange. In an emergency you do not have to be a priest to perform a baptism. So, most mysterious.

Why was George Enescu his godfather?

Also, what Mozart minuet did little Dinu play? I am imagining one of the first, K. 1 or K. 2. But you never know, being Dinu Lipatti he might have soared like an eagle and played, I don't know, the minuet from "Don Juan."

I cannot imagine we will ever clear this up. But just in case...

We should consult the Dinu Lipatti Society.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pianist says live music is dead

Remember my Web log buddy from Brussels, Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont? As I mentioned before he has a Web log himself. And he wrote something the other day I found fascinating. That is a painting above of Pierre-Arnaud crafting his screed. The artist who painted it has a wonderful name. It is Joos van Craesbeeck!

I did not agree with everything he said, but it would take a while to sit and figure out why. Meanwhile, I appreciated his honesty.

The office kept me really busy the last couple of days and so I only just now got around to glancing back at what he wrote. From what he says on Twitter it seems I am not the only one to take what he wrote and chew on it.

It is about live classical music concerts and whether they are outdated. Pierre-Arnaud says they are, and that the future lies in music we listen to in our own homes or wherever else we go.

Glenn Gould said something like this, of course, but I always had the inkling it was because Glenn Gould did not like performing on the concert stage. Could not hack it on the concert stage, in some cases. He did not need the money from the concert stage and he was able to perform in the solitude of the studio.

I do not get the idea that Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont has this antipathy toward the concert hall. He is arguing that he does not like being in the audience.

Anyway, here is what he wrote. See what you think.

Before you go, "This Brussels sprout is all wet," I get some of what he says.

I go to concerts as part of my job so I know what it is like not to be in the mood to hear the music they are playing in the hall. I can go him one further in that sometimes it can be something I am in the mood to hear, but I am working and I cannot exactly sit back and enjoy it.

About changing the ritual of the concert experience, though, I tend to think we should not. If you start listening to the changes people say they want to make, forget it, because these are the same people who, you could do anything, and they still would not go. People call it stuffy, but I like silence in the concert hall. We have lost silence everywhere else, including the library, you know? There has to be some last bastion and this is it.

Pierre-Arnaud said that other arts have made changes long ago such as the ones he is proposing. I don't think that's altogether true. You still go to a play pretty much the way you would go to it 200 years ago, unless it's full of special effects or something. Books are still remarkably the same. Even with an ebook you are dealing with words on a background.

One positive thing about concerts for me: The group experience is sometimes -- not always but sometimes -- thrilling. It can be great, as long as no one is annoying you or anything, to be in a hall full of people loving Mozart's "Requiem."

Anyway, I know, words, words, words.

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.

Thank you, Pierre-Arnaud, for yours!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Home on the range!

This is a wonderful piece of Americana, Bryn Terfel warbling "Home on the Range" in Central Park.

The people, all covered in slickers.

This opera singer on stage, telling people to sing together in harmony.

It is Americana but of course Terfel is Welsh. The Welsh have a corner on this stuff. Once I heard an all-male Welsh chorus. The sound was like something you could never make up and I ended up buying their CD. It was the only CD I ever bought after a concert. Then I never played it. I thought nothing could ever duplicate the weird sound I had heard and I did not want to try.

It is funny to hear Bryn Terfel in his stentorian way singing this old comic-strip song. Honest, I think of "Blondie." They would show Dagwood in the shower and he would be soaping up and singing "Home, home on the range! Where the deer and the antelope..."

On the YouTube video someone writes: "We consider this our state song in Kansas."

Anyway, Terfel sees the humor in it.

"All together!" he calls out.

Come on, sing it.

You know you want to!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mozart mystery lost in translation

Sure, I can speak some German, and read it pretty well.

But why read it when you can have the fun of hitting Google Translate?

I was honored again to hear from Dr. Michael Lorenz who sent a link to a story in Der Spiegel about Mozart's skull and about how the skull at the Mozarteum is not Mozart's.

I clicked on the link. I started to read it.

Then my eye slid to the top of the page. And I saw the button I was looking for:


It yielded this classic paragraph:

Legends of Mozart, and countless tough. In particular, the problem of every man's triad - the money, the woman's death - was romantically darkened by posterity, distorted speculative nachgemodelt spirit of the time, the cinematic gun robbers "Amadeus" was the most recent example.

"Legends of Mozart, and countless tough."

Could you make this up?