Paul Cantrell’s music blog & podcast
Piano music old and new from a devoted amateur,
all free to listen to, download, and share.

Today’s afternoon concert went well, and the sun came out in time to warm the apartment a little for the show. Several fellow composers came today (yay!), so I made it the program a little Cantrell-heavier — I’ve always wanted them to be able to hear my pieces on my own instrument. I hope the more contemporary program didn’t put off my non-composer guests. (It seemed not to….) My hope is that the music all fits together well enough and I sustain the musical energy enough to make the old/new distinctions not seem that apparent, or that important.

  • Cantrell – Three Places
  • Schumann – Bunte Blätter 6
  • Carei Thomas – Fragrance XIV: Cjalme
  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Cantrell – Entropic Waltz
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 116 No 4
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 55 No 1
  • Todd Harper – Thoughts at 4 AM
  • Cantrell – In a Perfectly Wounded Sky
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 117 No 1
  • Chopin – Ballade No 3

I was pushing myself a little doing four concerts within a week, and wondered how I’d hold up. Looks like I’ll make it through fine. The last Zo in this series is Wednesday, so I have a short breather now.

I had a lovely productive day in the recording studio (i.e. in my living room with the mics on) today, and you, o lucky readers of this weblog, will see the results of that work over the next couple of weeks as I get the recordings edited and mastered.

Here’s the first from today’s session, an old favorite of my compositions. Little-black-dot-minded people can follow along with the score.

Three Places
Paul Cantrell, piano

I have to say, I’m thrilled with the quality of this recording. Compare this recording to a very similar performance recorded at the first Keys Please, in the Macalester concert hall. The older recording sounds OK, but this one is how it’s supposed to sound, by golly.

I’m sure it would make a traditionalist classical audio engineer turn apoplectic, but I just love the crazy huge sound I get with my unorthodox mic setup. Suddenly, all those long ringing sounds make sense in the recording, just as they do live. I can’t praise recent advances in audio technology enough … or my beautiful piano, for that matter. I also must thank Matthew Smith and also Mike Olson, my audio engineer friends who helped me choose mics and do the EQ.

Do the recording justice, and listen on some good headphones — or, if you’re lucky, a great pair of speakers.

I’m very happy with tonight’s concert — the best Zo yet, I think. The piano was sounding great, and most pieces went well — several about as well as I’ve ever played them. None of yesterday’s muddle-headedness (what was that about, anyway?). The audience seemed to be right with me the whole time — Carei actually laughed out loud after Entropic (messy though it was), and they all seemed pleased afterwards … at least I think so, though I’ll let them speak for themselves by posting comments below (hint hint).

Shirley & Tom Kysilko have the distinction of being my first repeat Zo listeners. Congratulations! Please accept this blog post as a modest prize.

  • Schumann – Bunte Blätter 6
  • Bach – Sinfonia 5
  • Carei Thomas – Fragrance XIV: Cjalme
  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Cantrell – Entropic Waltz
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 116 No 4
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 55 No 1
  • Todd Harper – Thoughts at 4 AM
  • Cantrell – In a Perfectly Wounded Sky
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 117 No 1
  • Chopin – Ballade No 3

Still trying to figure out the mechanics of the ritual of these concerts: how to start it, how to end it, how to welcome people on their way in and out, etc. I gave a little spoken introduction to the concert; not sure if that was helpful to the audience or not, though I do think it gave me a better chance to focus myself. Any thoughts from those who were there?

A small but fun audience tonight for Zo. I was foggy the whole way through – losing focus often, lots of memory glitches – but my listeners were very forgiving. Entropic was botchy beyond repair (will I ever learn the darned thing?!) but the ballade went well, which is encouraging – it’s been a long, long time since I worked up something really virtuosic for a concert … not since college, in fact. I may get the hang of these things yet.

Here’s what I played:

  • Brahms - Waltz Op 39 No 15
  • Bach - Sinfonia 5
  • Carei Thomas - Fragrance XIV: Cjalme
  • Cantrell - Entropic Waltz
  • Cantrell - Cradle Waltz
  • Brahms - Intermezzo Op 116 No 4
  • Chopin - Nocturne Op 55 No 1
  • Todd Harper - Thoughts at 4 AM
  • Cantrell - In a Perfectly Wounded Sky
  • Brahms - Intermezzo Op 117 No 1
  • Chopin - Ballade No 3

I like the program. I’ll blame the fog on the Claratin I took this morning, and not tweak the program too much for tomorrow’s concert.

Update: Marisa comments on the concert in her blog.

To get the recording train rolling, here’s a recording of a lullaby of Brahms, one of my favorites. I made this recording to play with equalization settings, but liked the performance enough to keep it.

Intermezzo Op 117 No 1
Paul Cantrell, piano

Thanks go to my good friend Geneviève, who introduced me to this piece about five years ago. She played it marvelously, and I’ve wanted to learn it ever since, though it took me until this spring to get around to it. So, finally, here it is. Enjoy.

As part of my general mission to increase the flow of bits hither and thither (and, from time to time, yon) across the Internet, I’m starting a music weblog. (That would be this.)

My initial goal is to post new recordings twice a week (!), every…oh, let’s say Tuesday and Saturday. Sometimes they’ll be recordings of compositions I’ve been learning (and, in some cases, writing), and the rest of the time, they’ll be pure improvisation. Hopefully the variety of old/new and polished/spontaneous will be enough to keep things interesting.

And yes, for the time being, it will all be piano solo. I’d like to post collaborations with other people on other instruments, but I don’t really have the means to much such recordings at home, at least not yet.

I’ll also be using this weblog to post the programs of my concerts, and give audience members a chance to post their feedback. Other creative suggestions for what I might post are, of course, quite welcome.

Enjoy!