Friday, March 27, 2009

Over 1 MILLION Music Downloads!

Celebration! In just over 1 year my Lisztonian website has had over 1 MILLION unique music downloads! I've been waiting for this day for a while now and am so happy it is here :) So I looked up the database record for the 1 millionth download and here are the details:
  • The 1,000,000th download was for Schumann's Dedication arranged by Franz Liszt
  • The person who downloaded the 1,000,000th song was from Lima, Peru
  • The 1,000,000th download occured at 6:38PM Mountain time
  • The person who had the 1,000,000th download was using the Firefox browser and downloaded the MP3

So if you are from Peru, using Firefox, and listened to Schumann's "Dedication" at 6:38PM on March 27th (Mountain time) then you can sleep happy knowing that you made my day :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sheet Music Downloads Now Available!

While making some small changes to my website over the weekend I had a visitor come in through chat who asked if I knew where he could find the sheet music to a particular piece I had recorded. It just so happened that I DO know a few places to find public domain sheet music. This gave me the idea that I should include the sheet music for each of the recordings on my Lisztonian site. So I spent some time tracking down as many of them as I could and now when you visit the download page for each recording you can also download the score!

You can see at a glance if the score is available by visiting the main "Free Music" page where all of my recordings are listed. If there is a "PDF" icon then it means I have the sheet music for that recording.

The majority of the music was found from the Petrucci Music Library - a great resource for finding public domain sheet music. I have to admit, that for the majority of music I study I like to purchase my sheet music from Alfred. Their sheet music is of the highest quality available and I recommend purchasing the Alfred edition of whatever score you may be seeking. However, if it is unavailable or you just want to take a quick glance at the music, then the aforementioned resource is a great tool to have.

I hope that my readers and listeners enjoy this new feature of Lisztonian!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reminiscing - Chopin Polonaise in A major (Military Polonaise)

One of my earliest piano memories is of my childhood when my bedroom used to be right next to my mom's piano "studio". She had a student who would come at 5:30 in the morning and was learning Chopin's Military Polonaise. I hated that piece :( For YEARS I hated the opening chords of that famous work. Perhaps if I were more of a morning person I wouldn't have minded so much.

Many years later I had a young man in Japan ask me if I could play that one. He put the music in front of me and asked me to site read it. I've never been much of a site-reader, but I gave it my best shot. While playing through it, I realized how much fun it really could be to play so I made the decision to learn it. However, it wasn't for several more years that I would actually purchase the sheet music. I continued to play this piece on-and-off for a few years. One day I heard my daughter humming it in the kitchen and I realized that she loved when I played it. I still will play it once in a while just to see her run around the room playing pretend. I'm not sure exactly what she is pretending to be, but it is fun to see her get so excited.

Here is a video of me playing this piece in 2002, just a few months before my daughter was born:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reminiscing - Moszkowski Etude in D Minor

I was first introduced to the music of Moszkowski through my master classes at Brigham Young University. Several students were learning various Moszkowski etudes. I distinctly remember enjoying a performance of the D minor etude, which consisted primarily of octaves. A couple of years later, while I was living in Japan, I came across a small music store hidden in an outdoor, covered shopping center. While perusing the music I saw that they had a book of Moszkowski etudes. I played the opening phrase of a couple of the etudes on a piano they had available and decided to add it to my collection. I started with the D minor etude, as it was one that I recalled finding so fun to listen to. I discovered that it was a very simple score to memorize and only took a couple of hours to commit it to memory - which is very impressive for somebody like me, who often struggles with memorization. I played the work at every opportunity I could find, including a public recital that I gave while living in a small city called Shingu (while still in Japan).

Eventually I returned home and re-learned the work for a recital that I gave in February 2003. Here is a video that I recorded of me playing Moszkowski's Etude in D Minor a few months before that recital:

I apologize that the syncronization between the video and audio appear to be off. Oh well :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Scriabin Etude in C-sharp Dedicated to Dave Broschinsky

About the Work

Alexander Scriabin was a fantastic pianist with an extremely unique compositional style. This Etude, in C-sharp Minor has become one of my favorite works to play. Here is an excerpt from my website that explains more about this work:

"This is my first recording of a work by Scriabin. Scriabin's music has a very unique and recognizable style to it. He was a talented pianist and lived an interesting "mystic" life with music at the center. This particular Etude was composed in 1887. The haunting melody is quite simple in that it merely ascends up the minor scale, with a short jump from the fifth to the octave with a quick descent to the sixth. This phrase then repeats throughout the work beginning on a variety of intervals and keys. As each phrase ends with a feeling of incompleteness, it provides the piece with a longing feeling - a need to return to "home" or the tonic. As the larger phrase finally makes its way back to the tonic, the journey there is through a descent back through the minor scale adding to the somber feelings that are stirred through this work."


This work is dedicated to a friend of mine, Dave Broschinsky, who I met through my association with IEEE. Dave is an excellent UI designer who has been kind enough to sacrifice some of his time in helping me give a slight refresh to my web design. Although the site has not changed dramatically, you will notice that there is a more modern and more appealing feel to the site :) This is thanks to Dave's handy work and expertise. I sincerely appreciate the kindness he has shown to me in performing this act of generosity.

I chose this particular piece as a dedication for two reasons. First, because it is a favorite of mine; and second, because it so aptly portrays a sense of incompleteness and of longing - and this is certainly the feeling I had about my website until Dave jumped in to help. I always felt as though the design was almost there, but that it was lacking the touch of a good UI designer. Now I feel much more complete.

If any of my readers/listeners are looking for a good UI professional, you can visit Dave's websites here:

His rates are competitive; his experience is diverse; and his quality is undeniable. Thanks, Dave, for bringing some freshness to my website :)

The Recording

You may listen to my recording of Scriabin's Etude in C-sharp Minor by visiting this page of my website or by using the media player below. I encourage you to subscribe to my free iTunes podcast so that you can easily download all of my current and future recordings.