Category Archives: Piano

The presence of the friend

Close friends who practice together the exercises of friendship-as-ethic                             mold each other into their Aristotelian “other self” under a bright sun like Vienna’s. In addition to … Continue reading

Posted in Attunement, Collaboration, Friends, Piano

Listening to music as a skill

What if listening to music is a skill, like playing it?  For example, listening to these pieces for ruined pianos arguably requires a skill. In her book Intelligent Virtue (2012), philosopher Julia Annas, an authority in Greek ethics, draws on “the … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening, Piano

Listening to a mazurka by Chopin

Here is a tremendous instance of the birth of the lyrical subject in the 19th century. Listening to this early mazurka, you feel you are listening to something coming forth tentatively from your deepest self, not from an outside source.  … Continue reading

Posted in Listening, Piano | Tagged ,

Goethe’s Mignon sings to Wilhelm Meister

From Beethoven to Berg and beyond, a great number of major composers has set to music the poem Kennst du das land (Do you know the land) from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (Book III, Chapter 1, 1795) where the enigmatic adolescent Mignon tells … Continue reading

Posted in Listening, Literature, Piano | Tagged

The pianist-thinker

Certain great pianists spend their lives thinking deeply about music, and feeling torn between the ethereal and the apoplectic – either dancing on the piano (clip 1) or crawling under it (2).  Some times they believe they have mastered their … Continue reading

Posted in Friends, Piano

The regular piano collaborator

Long-term collaborations in classical music used to inspire confidence in the tradition of the genre. Whether we were listening to an LP or the local classical station, we the audience knew that the stability and continuity of several schemes guaranteed … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Piano

The spell of caprice No. 24

Paganini 24 is not a piece you listen to but one you obsess about. Its theme alone hits you like this orchestral crescendo: So many composers and musicians have been obsessing about this five-minute capriccio (1817) that one may write … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Piano | Tagged