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Silver Crusade

My latest obsession is the piano concerto by Enrique Granados. I’ve had the recording for years but never really gave it an attentive listen. It is spectacular throughout.

The first movement is moody and dramatic. (Kudos to the orchestra in that video for sitting attentively through the first several minutes of piano solo.) The second movement really sparkles. It’s one of those pieces that you are convinced you have always known, even when hearing it for the first time. And the third movement is a thrill.

Seriously, listen to the whole thing. I don’t know why this doesn’t get played more often.

(There aren’t many videos of it out there. The one I linked is a wonderful performance, and it’s in HD, but the cinematography choices are questionable.)

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I've loved Bach's second violin Partita for many years, particularly the Chaconne. Recently I found Hélène Grimaud's performance of Busoni's arragement of it. Wow! I never heard anyone give such a breathtaking performance, not even Evgeny Kissin!

Silver Crusade

I've been a fan of this Bach fantasy for a while. Busoni went on to arrange it in his Fantasia, Adagio, and Fugue. (The original fugue Bach meant to pair it with was never completed.)

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Yes! I love that fantasy! Back in 2010, on this thread, Treppa first made me aware of In 2011 and 2012, I downloaded a lot of sheet music from that site and played many pieces thanks to it. One of those pieces was that fantasy. (Unfortunately, I didn't start recording myself until 2014, so I can't prove I played it.)

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I never cared much for Scarlatti, but the biggest exception is this sonata. Only recently, when hearing it on the radio, did I finally find out the Kirkpatrick number so I could locate it.

I don't go to many concerts, but once - about 15 or 20 years ago - my wife and I went to see a pianist perform at a local community center. He was incredible. He played all 4 of Chopin's Scherzi wonderfully well. (I know of one incredibly talented pianist who didn't quite manage to pull off the Scherzo #2 musically.) He also played Beethoven's entire Sonata Appassionata... and two Scarlatti Sontatas, including the K 113 to which I linked above. He made a show jumping around with that left hand; I could never manage to play it that well, I'm certain.

Over the years, I've discovered - and greatly enjoyed - many, many different interpretations of "Tico-Tico no Fubá" ("Sparrow in the Cornmeal") by Zequinha de Abreu. I even played one myself, as I mentioned in this post. (Well, I never said I did a good job of it.)

Last week I found another one. I've been listening to a lot of recordings by Sangah Noona. She plays and sings music of many genres. And here's her Tico-Tico.

(If I could fix that link such that it would play only the first 2 minutes and 5 seconds of that video I would; that's the only part you need.)

I just discovered the first movement of Palladio by Karl Jenkins. I like this performance in particular despite the fumbles because it has a greater intensity and excitement than some other recordings do.

(Only the first movement grabbed me, though. Again, if I could somehow write that link such that the video would stop around 3:57 I would.)

I just discovered Panis Angelicus by Franck.

And although I enjoyed many instrumental arrangements of Bist Du Bei Mir - I even played one myself - no vocal performance of it ever grabbed me until this week. Check out this one.

Once again I played a sonatina by Clementi, this time the Opus 36 Number 6.

Like I mentioned earlier in this thread, those pieces are easy to play. I've been playing Clementi (and Kuhlau) sonatinas since I was 9. Playing an entire such sonatina is far easier than playing a typical movement of a sonata by Mozart or Haydn, yet I feel that musically many of the sonatinas are every bit as good.

So when, about a month ago, I happened to hear a performance of a movement of a Mozart piano sonata that put me in the mood to play such a piece, it was obvious I should play a sonatina. But I had never played the Opus 36 No 6 before. I had heard others perform the first movement. My wife played it, and she's less advanced a pianist than I am. So I figured the 36/6 should be no problem for me.

Well... not quite. The 36/6 is one of those pieces with subtle differences in the repetitions, so it's more difficult to memorize than other, comparable sonatinas. When practicing, I kept playing in accordance with the wrong repetition and sending the piece in the wrong direction. Obviously, I eventually managed to memorize the piece; my video makes that apparent. But for a little while I was getting a tad frustrated. That may seem odd - I've posted my performances of far more difficult pieces in the past. And perhaps I quit work on the piece earlier than I should have; with a little more practice I might have played it better (or with fewer fumbles, at least). But I grew tired of the thing. I feel the desire to play an easier sonatina.

In my previous post, I said I wanted to play an easier sonatina, so I did. Here's Clementi's Op 36 No 2.

This is the first time I actually played that sonatina, but I figured it looked easier than the last one I had played, and so it proved to be. But the reason I chose the No 2 is that it has such a pretty beginning (and by "beginning" I mean the first few measures). When practicing the No 6, I kept feeling the urge to play the beginning of the No 2.

And in fact, until I started seriously considering playing the No 2 - some time last month - I don't recall ever even HEARING the second or third movement!

Still, although these pieces were far easier than some others I had previously played, I didn't practice them as much as I should have before recording myself playing them and quitting. Maybe I'm getting lazy in my old age.

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