Sunday, November 30, 2008

Walking on clouds of melody.

I've been pretty busy lately and the "Daily Piano Tips" haven't been as "daily" as they should be. I've been filling in for our local orchestra's pianist, who is still incapacitated from a bad fall she had a couple of months ago. For the past two weeks, I've been immersed in Puccini (I've been playing the celesta, organ and some piano parts). The orchestra played a programme with scenes from Tosca, Bohéme and Butterfly as well as some of his orchestral intermezzi and most famous arias.

[caption id="attachment_578" align="alignright" width="238" caption="Carissima mía, you have to walk on clouds of melody."]walking[/caption]

Shostakovitch once said that Puccini wrote horrible music and great operas. It's easy to get that reaction, considering that for the past hundred years, almost every musical has been a reworking of Puccini's greatest hits--- Andrew Lloyd Weber is particularly guilty of that. In my opinion, Puccini's melodies are amazing in every sense. He is reputed as saying "you have to walk on clouds of melody" to one of his singers. I've grown to love his music; he left us with a whole heaven of melody on which to walk. Some composers--- Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Wolf--- had that gift for melody which, for some reason,  made them looked down upon by many in the musical community. Even so, their music strikes something deep within the listener which transcends the snobbery. It can be kitsch, but it has a kind of sincerity, of emotional honesty, that makes the music great.

Talking about that sort of music, I get to play the celesta in the Nutcracker suite ten times in the next two weeks! Can someone get tired of the Sugar Plum Fairy? I'm about to find out, first hand. I'll also be playing some harpsichord with Corelli's christmas concerto, but I can change it up a bit each time we play it.

In any case, sorry about the lack of updates, right now. My students are playing a concert, I'm applying end of the year exams and I'm playing concerts almost daily, either with the orchestra, or accompanying students from the school, or going out and playing recitals (mostly with singers). Regular updates will come soon (once the school year and the concert season is over), but for now the daily piano tips will be "daily" in Pluto days.

In the meantime listen to a lot of Puccini; and sing along, if no one is watching.

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