Monday, March 17, 2008

Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G-Sharp Minor (Op. 32 No. 12)

Here is another recording by Rachmaninoff. I put this one together rather quickly and it shows... I will likely re-record this one in the future after I've taken the time to adjust my interpretation of it, but this is a decent start.

This prelude is one of 13 preludes in Opus 32. Rachmaninoff wrote this during the period of his life that many consider to be the high-point of his composational genius. The entire Opus was written over a period of 19 days.... Imagine that! It is one thing to be able to write such wonderful music, and quite another to produce such a volume of it so quickly.

I had the pleasure of seeing this piece performed recently at the Dmitri Ratser concert I attended. His interpretation and performance was stunning. I enjoyed every moment of it. I encourage my listeners to all make an effort to obtain a copy of his recording.

I recorded this at my home on my studio upright. Please consider making a donation towards my Steinway piano; and please share my website with others and help spread a love for good piano music!

You can hear my recording of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G-Sharp Minor (Op. 32 No. 12) by visting my Lisztonian website, by visiting my iTunes page, or by using the following embedded player.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

CMCS Series: Andantino

Andantino is a short piece by Aram Khachaturian. It has an echanting melody that, to me, stirs a great longing feeling. It is a familiar melody and is a perfect piece for those quiet evenings where you just want to reflect on life.

The score comes from Alfred's Classical Music for the Church Service: Volume II.

This piece was recorded at my home using my studio upright. If you have enjoyed this recording of Aram Khachaturian's Andantino, or any of my other recordings, then please consider making a donation by using the donate buttons provided on this website.

You may listen to this recording by visiting my Lisztonian website, or by using the flash player provided below:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dmitri Ratser - A Brilliant Performance!

It is difficult to describe the evening I had as my wife and I enjoyed a talented artist performing an impressive program. Ratser opened the performance with one of my favorite pieces, Schumann's Fanatasy in C Major. I have heard this piece performed live many times, and have several recording, and I have NEVER experienced a performance so rich in interpretation and individual flavor. I was almost brought to tears at one point during the first movement of this work. It was astounding.

His second piece was his own arrangment of three themes from Carmen written in the style of the Great Franz Liszt. Phenomenal! What excitement! I was almost falling out of my seat and could hardly contain myself. The moment he concluded I jumped out of my chair to give him a standing ovation. Within seconds, 3/4ths of the crowd had joined me in a standing ovation. It was a magnificent arrangment with distinct Lisztian style and with a equally dramatic performance.

After an intermission he then Played Liszt's Vallee d’Obermann. This is a wonderful work and his performance, yet again, was stunning. He followed this by performing two of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Preludes and two Etudes. For those of you who may not be familiar with Dmitri Ratser, he is particularly well known for his interpretations of Rachmaninoff. These four works were absolutely no let-down. One of the preludes happened to be the one that I just posted last week, Prelude in C Sharp Minor (which I dedicated to my friend, Dane Laverty). Dane, if you happen to be reading this, he puts us both to shame in the performance of this piece... although that really goes without saying -- Ratser is a brilliant artist.

His final piece was a jazz set of variations on a theme by paganini. He concluded with another round of standing ovations and then graced the audience with an encore of a short piece that I can only guess was by Franz Liszt (Ratser didn't introduce the piece). It was familiar to me, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was.

What an incredible evening. My wife and I both had such a wonderful time. Oh, and of course, he performed on a beautiful Steinway model D piano. Ratser is a Steinway Artist, which means he is a professional pianist of virtuoso level, performs regularly, and owns a steinway piano. I should mention that Steinway does NOT pay pianists to endorse them... in fact, because Steinway Artists must own a Steinway, the ARTIST is the one who pays to endorse Steinway. That alone should indicate what a magnificent instrument they are. Other piano makers pay artists to endorse their pianos, but Steinway does not, and has never needed to. To all who have donated to my SignMyPiano project -- THANK YOU -- hopefully my own dream of owning one of these instruments will not be too far off!

Thank you, Dmitri Ratser for a wonderful evening; and thank you, Bachauer Foundation for sponsoring this event!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dmitri Ratser - In Concert

Tomorrow night the Bachauer Foundation is sponsoring a concert by Dmitri Ratser. My wife and I will be attending and I'm really looking forward to it. I have heard such wonderful things about this performer. You can find information about the performance here. I encourage everybody to attend!

He specializes in music by Rachmaninoff and wil be performing 4 of Rachmaninoff's etudes at the concert.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-Sharp Minor
dedicated to Dane Laverty

Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-Sharp Minor (Op 3, No 2) is one of his most popular and most famous works. It is often called "The Prelude" or "The Bells of Moscow." It is a fun piece and I love playing it. I have only performed this live on two (maybe three) occasions.

I am dedicating this recording to my dear friend, Dane Laverty. He and I served together as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- commonly known as "The Mormons" (mormons are NOT affiliated with Warren Jeffs or any modern-day polygamast group). During that time, I spent two years in Kobe Japan serving the Japanese people and discussing with them my beliefs in God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. My religion is a major part of my musicianship and my faith is the root of my passion for good music. Hopefully that doesn't offend any of my devoted listeners, but hey, I'm just being honest with you :)

Dane Laverty has grown to be one of my greatest friends and examples. I constantly look up to him as a master teacher in life. I dedicate this particular recording to him because he is a fellow pianist and he performed this piece for me during the time we were serving together in Japan. It may not be quite as refined as his performance, but I hope that my listeners will enjoy it all the same.

It was recorded at my home on my studio upright. If you have enjoyed my recordings, then please consider helping me in my quest to purchase a Steinway Model B piano. I appreciate all of the generous donations I have received and hope that someday I can repay that generosity by recording my music on one of the world's finest instruments.

You may listen to my recording of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-Sharp Minor by visiting my Lisztonian website or by using the following music player: