Piano Music: The Ultimate Test, Really

Hmmmmm. Let's see. How much can I say about piano music?

It's tough to skate to. It really depends on the composer. And on the performer.

The performer more than anything.

If you want nice, smooth, open tempos to skate to that aren't going to drive you all that crazy, go for someone like Alicia De Larrocha (will be checking spelling, but you know who I mean). She is an excellent "get-you-warmed-up" type. And I can see using some of her music in decent competition.

Not so Vladimir Horowitz. Make sure a triple axel doesn't frighten you and you can keep up with anybody on your footwork. I have literally seen blades broken over this guy. He is so individualistic, so determined to express it his way, that it's nearly impossible to skate to. But it can be done. And it's beautiful. Exhausting, but beautiful.

For fun, try Jacques Loussier's Play Bach Trio. Classical Bach toned down for the jazz era. And I promise he keeps a consistent beat. I'd even almost recommend it for dance. Almost....don't blame it on me....thank you.

Composers. Scott Joplin. Make sure you have a good triple axel under your belt and make sure you've got a performer who knows old-time blues, preferably with Southern/Cajun specialty. A Chicago-based upbringing and training doesn't cut it. It just doesn't. Not for this. Make sure these boys know how to play.

Chopin. Aaaahhhh. When can we see some more of this? Make sure you've got a pianist who can keep a decent tempo under them. It takes years to put out one of those easy-sounding little Chopin pieces with a decent sense of tempo and rhythm. Cut the skates right out from under you if you don't. I promise.

Bach. The big one. Can anyone play Bach nowadays? For today's music, it really needs to be on a contemporaneous instrument -- save the historical instruments for cutesy. They really don't work. (All right. Try it. See if they do. Nyah nyah nyah if you're going to be that way....sigh...what can you do?) Find a pianist who can keep it in time decently. Hit the bass notes. And make sure the treble doesn't get out of range. I do not know one. I promise. (Loussier really redoes the stuff. I'm talking about straight performance out of the book. Nasty, nasty, nasty....)

And if you must get into modern...make sure it's somebody with a Ph.D. in musicology or the equivalent (and be tough about the equivalent) so they at least know where they're coming from. It takes nerve to drive an engine like a piano. Make sure this person has it, not just motor-powered fingers. Modernity is nothing without background. Trust me......

More later. I just wanted to pour out some thoughts. Just watch the piano music.

It can trip you up.

At Least Think About These (Until I get a Full Classical Page Up)

One of the more heinous influences on my misspent childhood: The Absolute Sound. I swear to God I was intended to write this way....
Another Good Place to Get Started
www.jsbach.org. Now what else can you do?

Just getting started here. Oh. Think EMI Red Labels. At least I think that's what they're called. High-end, great recordings, I know they were in vinyl with these red borders around the album covers...never saw a Wildcat trip. At least not a qualified Wildcat....will check the name to be sure, but it's a good starting point. That full-classical page is coming....oh God, there is so much...