Opus 130

Month: April, 2014

4.29.14 | Innovation Project

Half a year ago, I started a YouTube upload project with the intention of making public domain recordings of classical music on the internet more accessible. Most public domain recordings of an acceptable audio quality can be found on http://imslp.org/, also an excellent resource for public domain sheet music. So why go as far as upload on YouTube something that’s already found on the internet? The main reason is that YouTube is the most known media sharing site. While many students/enthusiasts of classical music utilize IMSLP, it is still not that well known.

It was to be called the Art Music Repository, and can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtMusicRepository/

I had hoped that the project would contribute to the wealth of recordings already on YouTube, and more importantly, that it would give public domain artists more recognition. However, I can safely say that this project is currently a failure. Even with my attempts to create multiple presences of the project on several share sites,  the channel has gained one measly subscriber and an abysmally low number of views on its videos. The current upload project focuses on the major works of piano composer Frédéric Chopin, but with the videos being virtually invisible in the past few months, I have ceased uploading until I can find some way to make some portion of the classical music community on the internet aware of the project.

I believe that, in itself, the project was not a bad idea to start with, but the problem lies within my inability to understand the infrastructure of social media/media sharing.

That said, here is a recording of Chopin’s complete Op. 25 Etudes, performed by Mehmet Okonsar. The music still shines brightly as ever, even in struggle.



4.22.14 | Liszt

Liszt is known as one of the greatest piano composers of the Romantic era, but personally, I find that his music does nothing for me. He never fails to write virtuosic music, music riddled with wild cadenzas and innumerable technical devices (which make for amazing textual effect, one of the upsides of his writing), but I believe that the flashiness sometimes aims to compensate for sparse melodic material, or a lack of thematic development (motivic development, on the other hand..). Liszt was obviously a strong influence on the late Romantics, but behind all the double notes, octaves, glissandi, sprawling scales and arpeggios, I can’t stay interested by the material. Maybe someday, the power of acquired taste will kick in, and I will realize how foolish I am now.

However, learning his music is a unique experience, despite any regret I have for doing so now.. The physical aesthetic of playing his music is sometimes, dare I say, fun. (WHAT???)

The Liebestraume No. 3, played (sort of) by yours truly. Please excuse this rather unpolished performance (oh, the erratic tempi and random flubs!); it was a work in progress before my patience wore thin. Perhaps I’ll finish it another day.


4.8.14 | Nope

That is my reaction to Beethoven’s Op. 106. It was my first reaction, and it will always be my reaction. Few compositions have had me sit there in awe of its incredible profundity. It is a work experimental in nature, written when Beethoven was completely deaf, and stands among the greatest in his oeuvre, among the greatest in piano literature. However, it is not recognized as so. Popularity has given itself to his lesser sonatas, the “Moonlight”, the “Pathetique”, the “Tempest”, and so on. Beethoven in general is reputed as one of the more known classical composers, but I don’t believe that he intended his music to be popular, and certainly, he did not intend his Op. 106, “Hammerklavier” to be popular.

Music is ethereal before it is intellectual, but I feel as if Beethoven intended a scientific construction to this work. It is anything but standard, with its four movements (typical for a symphony!), and a monstrous and incomprehensible fugue of a finale. It is a work revered by scholars, but few truly do love it. I say “nope” because I do not accept its existence. It is far too rich in material to be attributed to just one composer.

The Op. 106 is a performer’s nightmare, but fortunately we are blessed with those dedicated to communicating Beethoven’s music, those who are very capable of pulling off such a feat. The piano used in this recording is a Bosendorfer, not the standard Steinway. I think that its warm, dark tone is suited for Beethoven.




4.1.14 | Sleep

Sleep’s an important thing to us humans. It helps us function during the day, and frankly, without it, we’d just be unresponsive zombies. The same principle applies in the process of practice. There is only so much material one can ingrain in one’s memory in one practice session. Any more, and the quality of practice will fall victim to fatigue. True improvement happens when you’re not practicing. But whether you’re a musician or not, get your sleep. It’s the best favor you can do your body.

I need to start following my own advice..