Open Goldberg

Those studying composing/arranging and listening in SQA Music exams pretty soon come upon variation form. If you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone or iPad you can download a free app containing a recording by Kimiko Ishizaka along with a score (with moving cursor) of one of the best sets of variations of all time, Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

You can get the iPhone app here  http://www.opengoldbergvariations.org/soundsnips-free-iphone-app-featuring-open-goldberg-variations

and the iPad version here:

http://www.opengoldbergvariations.org/musescore-releases-free-ipad-app-open-goldberg-variations

The Art of Fugue

I always look forward to notification of a new YouTube upload by Smalin aka Stephen Malinowski. I’ve linked to several here before but this one is a cracker and features: 

  • his uniquely colourful system for portraying pitch and duration
  • the option to watch in 3D – with the right specs
  • mention of the following musical concepts:
  • augmentation – doubling the length of notes in the theme
  • diminution – halving the length of notes in the theme
  • inversion – turning the theme upside-down; as he explains the M-shape becomes a W-shape
  • if you watch the hands closely you’ll also see ‘finger substitution’ – where a finger, which is keeping a note down, is ‘relieved’ by another so that it can move on to its next job; the complexity of the music comes through here as many of the notes are effectively being played twice

Allan Neave – Guitar Recital

As part of the Edinburgh International Guitar Festival, Allan Neave is to give a recital at 7:30 on Friday 1st October in Duddingston Kirk (click for map). The programme includes works by Bach, Koshkin, Dyens, Falla, Barrios and Albeniz. Tickets (£8/£5) are available on the door, from Academy of Music & Sound (click for map), 1 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HY, Phone: 0131 656 0600 or from the organiser, Mike McGeary on 07884 007 240.

Having seen Allan play a few times, I can confidently recommend this recital!

Here is pdf for those who wish to pass on info to friends/colleagues etc.

Allan Neave Recital

See you there.

It’s music, Jim, but not as we know it

I’m not really sure what musical dreams are being sold in this video by John Q. Walker – particularly from 9′ 55” to 11′ 18” – but it’s certainly interesting. Without giving the game away, it sounds like a comprehensive, cross-referenced database of musical nuance and human emotion would be required. Perhaps it’s entirely natural to be incredulous of possibilities which lie far in advance of your own lifespan – although in this video interview he concurrs with the estimation of 10 -20 years.

However, there is some great footage of a young Glenn Gould playing some of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (his first of two recordings, separated by 26 years) and some lovely photographs.

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This Youtube video shows the Aria and Variations 1 – 7 from the later recording of 1981. May I recommend the elegant, lyrical fireworks from 7′ 14” to 7′ 50”

Knocks Academy

Despite having been a pupil at Knox for 5 years and having taught there at least one day-per-week for 25.5 years, the first time I sat through an entire concert in the school hall was last Friday. Normally, I’m on stage or backstage with pupils or en route between the two.

So it was a real pleasure to sit, free of duties, through a Lamp of Lothian concert featuring the O Duo. The duo comprises former Knox lad, Oliver Cox and musical partner, Owen Gunnell, on percussion – yes, it’s a percussion duo.

The presentation and the patter of duo was very inviting and the playing both entertaining and virtuosic. With the boys’ blessing, I recorded the concert as an aide memoir to writing a review which the Lamp of Lothian will submit to The East Lothian Courier.

It then occurred to me that posting a couple of samples here might benefit:

  • The O Duo – encouraging people to check out the concert dates & CD on their website
  • The Lamp of Lothian – an example of one of the many concerts they put on throughout the year – entry to which is free for pupils
  • Knox Academy – perhaps an under-rated and over-looked venue – these mp3 samples were recorded on a Zoom H2 at the back of the hall

Hopefully these short samples will prove that there’s more to a percussion duo than hitting things with sticks.

Bongo Fury (composed by O Duo); Bongo Fury Alborada del Gracioso (Ravel); Alborada Courante Courante & Gigue Gigue from French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816 (Bach); Etude in C# minor, Op. 10 No. 4; Chopin Sonata No. 90 (Soler); Soler Flight of the Bumblebee; (Rimsky-Korsakov); Flight of BB