End-of-Year Blowout
Wed, May 5
Program to include Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries!
and other operatic excesses...

[mostly on hiatus since 2012]

View demo videos here

Friday, February 27, 2009

Level Two Completed

Our heroes survived their encounter with Mendelssohn on Wednesday - wow, that piece has a lot of notes. And, to increase the challenge factor, they were playing from a scanned version of the score that looks like this in spots:

Still, it's worth noting here what an amazing resource the International Music Score Library Project is. Without, we'd have had no score for the Mendelssohn. Plus, the poor scan makes a great excuse for any little misfires that might be scattered throughout the performance. The video above provides a brief sampling of the Piano Hero experience, but the mistakes are more exciting in person, I have to say.

We've decided to go back to Beethoven for Level Three next week (3/4), with a few new wrinkles. First of all, we'll be playing the landmark Symphony No.3 in a version for two pianos, as opposed to the 4-hands-at-1-piano arrangements we've used the last couple of weeks. Beethoven famously intended to dedicate this work to Napoleon, but then when disillusionment with the self-proclaimed emperor set in, the composer switched the title to the more generic Sinfonia eroica (heroic symphony) - which I think we can finally understand as a forward-looking dedication to our Piano Hero concept.

Also, if all goes as planned, we'll be projecting the score for your viewing pleasure this time, perhaps with some helpful annotations thrown in. This way, you'll be able to see exactly what we're seeing - and possibly faking. Nathan might go old-school and play from paper pages this time around, but I will definitely continue to play from a Tablet PC, because that's how I roll now. In the interest of full disclosure (and since there were witnesses, and all), I might as well admit that we had a minor technical snafu this last time out. I had the Airturn page-turning pedal all set to go, but when we arrived at the first turn, I pedaled - and nothing happened. We had to stop and restart after a quick exiting and re-entering of full-screen mode. In retrospect I'm not sure what went wrong, although it wasn't the fault of the Airturn device. The PC had simply stopped responding to instructions in full-screen mode, and the PageDown key wouldn't budge it either. This machine has done that a few times before when it's been left sitting unattended for awhile (as happened here), but I don't think it's a major concern. However, I will always remember to double-check that the program is "awake" before starting a performance.

Finally, a quick reminder that you can hear the "orchestral" version of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 this Saturday night (2/28) at 7:30 in a performance by the Gordon Symphony Orchestra. It's a very rich program that also includes a Handel oboe concerto, with student soloist, a large-scale work for cello and orchestra by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner, with artist-in-residence Carol Ou as soloist, and Brahms' gorgeous Schicksalslied for chorus and orchestra, feating the Symphonic Chorale and College Choir. Guest conductor is Susan Davenny Wyner.

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