Thursday, August 30, 2018

"The Piano Forever": Teenager James Shawcross demonstrates pianos, organs, percussion

There is a YouTube series called "ThePianoforever" by James Pavel Shawcross, who is now about 18, in which the performer demonstrates various pianos, organs, and even percussion.  There are also presentations of some electric pianos disguised as true wood concert.  The series seems to be filmed around Berkeley, California.  James made one of his earliest videos at age 11 and by 14 was able to make very professional presentations.

I’ll pick a recent video, the Adam Schaff Vetircal Piano.

He often plays some of the Chopin Fantasy-Impromptu in C# Minor. 

Like many very young artists he takes command of the video and connects to the viewer and displays great charisma. 
With this video, I am reminded of the upright piano my first piano teacher (in 1952) used, and of an upright in a den in the house in Kipton, Ohio where I spent boyhood summers.  A few feet away was a black-and-white TV for Cleveland Indians’ games (which we sometimes went to, in "The Mistake by the Lake").
I guess the young people are really winning.   If only I could have my past 18-year-old body back.

Picture:  The house above in Ohio has the words "C Sharp" above the garage.  A nod to Chopin, Beethoven (Moonlight), Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, maybe even Amy Beach? 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

YouTube channel "aSongScout" offers piano music based on mathematical objects

The YouTube channel “aSongScout” has some interesting piano pieces.

Here a young pianist plays the Fugue in A Major by Dmitri Shostakovich, from a set such pieces.

 This one is unique in not having any vertical dissonance. The pianist speculates that Shostakovich wrote this particular fugue to answer criticism that much of his music, including other fugues in the set (composed in the 1950s) were too dissonant for political purposes in the Soviet Union.

The channel offers pieces based on the Fibonnaci Sequence, and also the digits of the number Pi.
There appear to be at least two artists, Julian Smith, and David Macdonald, on the channel.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Wachner highlights late summer service at FBC

Today the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC today performed the anthem “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Julian Wachner.

The music sounded somewhat modal.

During the offertory, Christina Whitehouse-Suggs, Soprano, performed an aria from the Mass of Leonard Bersntein, “Sing God a Simple Song”, with its many whole tone scales (there is a similar effect in the Age of Anxiety).

I took a young woman to a concert performance of the Mass in the fall of 1971 when I was doing my only episode of heterosexual dating.

The organ postlude was Marcello’s “The Heavens Declare God’s Glory”.

Monday, August 20, 2018

"The Impeachable Paul Stookey"

Today a Facebook friend shared the video of “The Impeachable Paul Stookey”, from Peter, Paul and Mary of the 1960s.

I do remember back in college days that friends had singles and LP’s of Paul while I collected classical records.  I seem to remember that in my stay at NIH in the fall of 1962, the Kingston Trio was popular.
There is also a touching story in the Washington Post by Petula Dvorak about a homeless jazz double bass player. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Skid row choir in Los Angeles; also, remembering Aretha Franklin

On Saturday, Aug. 18, the NBC Today show presented the “Urban Voices Project”, a Skid Row Choir in downtown Los Angeles.

Here is a descriptive link

The Los Angeles Times has a story (by Gale Holland) about the Colburn Wesley Project singers 
This goes along with the idea that music training is very therapeutic, as a recent Scientific American e-book shows (to be reviewed soon on Books).

NBC Today doesn't have the link up for Urban Voices, but it does have a video testimonial to Aretha Franklin, who passed away this week at age 76 of pancreatic cancer.  I've covered on other blogs a possible new early warning diagnostic test for early cancer (including pancreatic) blood warnings developed as a science fair project by Jack Andraka.

Update: August 19

I briefly watched a free jazz concert on the promenade at Rehoboth Beach, DE Saturday evening. They played "Walking in a winter wonderland". 

Friday, August 03, 2018

Outwrite 2018 kicks off with "Laughing Our Loud", standup comedy

The Outwrite 2018 LGBT writing festival in Washington DC kicked off Friday night with a standup comedy session ("Kickoff: Laughing Out Loud") at the Ten Tigers Parlour on Georgia Ave in the Petworth neighborhood.  Chinese food was available to order (and this was all Bourdain Parts Unknown type of food that you’ve never heard of, except for the tofu, which Twin Oaks in Virginia can make.  (Does the name “Parlour” imply a timocracy?)

The host was Chelsea Shorte, who spun a lot of material about food as a business, and said don’t compete with the children.   The other speakers were Joanna Cifredo, Camille Roberts (“bits in Paradise”), Tsaitomi Duchicela (“Thunder Bay Sy”), Anthony Oakes, and keynote Michelle Tea.

There were stop quips at white privilege, and some emphasis on gender fluidity. I believe one of the presenters was M-F trans.  There were also some interesting comments on multi-lingual capabilities. 
I befriended a stanup comedy artists who worked in a coffee place when living in Minneapolis.  The film “To Err Is Human” presents a comedian in Denver who overcame a birth-related handicap due to medical error.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Pizza delivery man near Detroit is a self-taught virtuoso pianist

In the Detroit suburbs, eighteen year old Bryce Dudal works as a pizza delivery person for Hungry Howie’s.

Recently he was invited to demonstrate his piano skills at a home with a grand piano.

He plays the finale of the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata (#14 in C# Minor, Op. 27 #2) here, on a Fox story. This movement is fast with a lot of passage work (unlike the more notorious slow first movement.) 

Amazingly, he is self-taught, since the age of seven. He performs with great virtuosity and technique.  

(By the way, why doesn't Fox news use https yet?)