Wednesday, April 06, 2016 12:14 PM
I feel better about my piano-playing when I listen to some Erik Satie—but that’s a false equivalence—since his rebellious ‘ditties’ flew in the face of more than a century of standards and practices in Western music, whereas my plonking about comes long after Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage—not to mention Zappa. Still, there’s something similar there and it makes me feel better about myself and my playing. I’ve been practicing a lot of Chopin and Tchaikovsky lately—and those two are definitely not reassuring to later musicians but, rather, make one feel that music in general is far beyond mere mortals.
MORNING AND NIGHT
Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky—it’s weird how most of my practicing boils down to these three nowadays—I used to be all about the Baroque—especially Bach, Handel, and Telemann. I still play them on occasion but in recent years I’ve developed a fondness for that intimate personal touch so prevalent in the Romantics. I’ve also progressed to where they have become more accessible—the Romantics can be more demanding of technique.
I’ve been doing a lot of writing and a lot of piano-playing lately—but I haven’t had the presence of mind to include the piano recordings into the blog-posts, so this post will include several YouTube recordings I’ve neglected to share recently. Beyond that, there’s a great deal of piano-playing I won’t be sharing at all—sometimes I take a break from recording and just play—it gives me some elbow-room to take a break from being recorded. I’ve tried to learn to ignore the camera, but nothing I do seems to make me unaware of being observed—and that tightens up my playing in a way that makes playing without the camera a tremendous relief.
I wrote a poem yesterday about Tchaikovsky—not a very good poem, but I can’t help that. Much has been made of Tchaikovsky being gay (true) and of his being pressured into committing suicide (false) so it’s difficult for me to imagine his life and times—however, it is true that in spite of his innovative compositions, his contemporaries sometimes criticized him for being too European and not Russian enough—kinda strange for the guy who wrote March Slav, huh?
Tuesday, April 05, 2016 3:16 PM
My fingers plonk the keys—some Tchaikovsky
For beginners—full of Russian folk themes—
And the poor man’s life—under the thumb of
Entitled bullies and spoiled aristos.
Tchaikovsky is so delicate—so effeminate in some phrases,
Such fairy-like, walking-on-air-ish-ness—
His music is beloved—but for such a man
To live in the cold world—the horror.
I love Tchaikovsky—anyone, really, destroyed
By their own delicacy—to live is to die, and no matter
How long the course, among the many ways to die
What more glorious fate?
So many of us rail against the challenges of life.
We neglect to feel life—and our accomplishments,
Even those of grandeur, are as nothing if we fail
To build something inside us.
Pyotr Ilyich will live forever.
-© April 5th, MMXVI by Xper Dunn
But evolving acceptance of gays has rendered the isolation and frustration of millions of gay people through the centuries a uselessly cruel tragedy—in a way, by channeling his struggles into his wonderful music, Tchaikovsky got more out of his social taboo than most gays of the past. That doesn’t lessen his suffering—but his legacy is a lot more than most gay people in his era were granted. I sometimes ponder the possibility that most of the fine arts were practiced by a predominance of gays—it being the only place where they could express themselves without being thrown in jail or burned at the stake. Then I remind myself that there’s plenty of misery available to the straight life, too—enough to evoke creative expression to equal the biblically damned.
I also played an improv to go along with my previous post about Grandma/First Lady/Senator/Secretary/Candidate Clinton—which I belatedly include herein:
Then there’s this business, which I couldn’t think up a title for, so I used a misspelled version of a current movie title:
And that brings me up to date with my YouTube postings. I hope you enjoy some or all of them….