Remember My Name: Fame and Mily Balakirev

Hoo, boy, the new wordpress media player sure doesn’t do all the things the old yahoo player did. Dear technology: sometimes, change for change’s sake isn’t good. Anyhow. I will try and go through all my old posts and update them, groan, when there is time. Meantime…

Here are some random facts about Mily Balakirev. “Who?” you may ask. Bear with me. Continue reading

Arensky and the Lugubrious Cockroach

Anton Stepanovich Arensky. The Piano Trios. Beaux Arts Trio, 1995.

Rimsky-Korsakov, with whom Anton Stepanovich Arensky studied, dismissed the younger composer, saying, “In his youth Arensky did not escape some influence from me; later the influence came from Tchaikovsky. He will quickly be forgotten.” While this may not have proven entirely true, I certainly will not be dusting off this CD of Arensky’s again. Continue reading

Alkan: The White Stripes of Piano Composers

Grande Sonate: Les quatre ages. Sonatine. Le festine d’Esope. Marc-Andre Hamelin. Hyperion,1994.

So far, each composer in dad’s collection has been in one way or another more interesting than the last. It will be difficult for anyone to top Charles Valentin Alkan.

Alkan the man is a bit lost to the passage of time. From reading about him, I know he was born the same year as Wagner, in 1813. I know that in technique and form and sound and demands made on those who played his stuff (and length!), his music was far ahead of its time. That he was a master of the pedalier, a defunct bastard child of the piano and the organ requiring the use of feet as well as hands. Or sometimes just feet – his compositions include a set of etudes for feet alone and a duet for four feet. Continue reading