Paul Cantrell’s music blog & podcast
Piano music old and new from a devoted amateur,
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Posts tagged “Recordings”

Crystalizing, particle by particle.

Paul Cantrell, piano

That’s the last of the January improvaganza. I’ve been composing day and night (and it’s a perfect night for it tonight: new snow and a near-full moon!), and that will yield some new recordings just as soon as I manage to get some of these new pieces learned. But next time, I have a quirky little treat in the works for you. No, no, it’s a secret. Only Joel knows.

A sudden outpouring with no resolution!

Paul Cantrell, piano

I sat down and played this once, then for some reason started it again a couple of times — perhaps trying to find a resolution that wasn’t there to be found. But I ended up using that first take after all.

It somehow reminds me of GMH:

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

  Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

  Selves—goes its self; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

(Here’s the whole poem.)

I can’t decide: is this one emotionally charged, walking in an unfamiliar place, breath held? Or is it something moving without human intention, like water flowing beneath the ice, seen through human eyes?

Paul Cantrell, piano

Hmm. I think this one went on too long, but I do like the ending.

Shelter. A safe place.

Paul Cantrell, piano

I’m returning from Colorado tomorrow, but it will likely be a while before my piano is back in tune and I’m recording again. Will the blog go silent, you ask? Fear not! I recorded a little round of improvs a few weeks ago, so that’s likely what you’ll be hearing here for the next couple of weeks.

When I post a bunch of improvs in a row like this, part of me cringes at them starting to feel like filler material — but I set out to post recordings twice a week, and by golly, I’m sticking to that! So I hope you can enjoy these pieces for their emotional variety and in-the-moment rawness as you await the Return of the Composer. If nothing else, you can enjoy the names, which Wyoming provided and my parents helped me select.

At the New Year’s Eve party my family has been attending for the last … oh, at least 20 years, we have a tradition of doing waltzes. By “doing,” I don’t much mean dancing — sadly, only a few brave souls do that — but playing them, since it’s a musical crowd and it’s easy to form a pickup group. (It’s another instance of the sort of informal playing together, not playing for, that I wrote about in Comparing Notes.) Waltzes for the new year are a tradition our hosts imported from Austria, and one I’m now importing from their party to my weblog.

OK, you caught me, I already posted one recording for the new year. So now I’ve posted two!

Waltz Op 39 No 15 (in A flat major)
Paul Cantrell, piano

This isn’t quite as polished and unique as the previous Brahms recording I posted, I’m afraid, but I hope you’ll overlook that and enjoy the piece. It’s a wonderful little masterpiece of sophisticated simplicity.

The word "étude" means study --- a practice piece, designed to exercise a particular technique. Études for musicians are generally dry, repetitious pieces, not music to perform, but just exercises for practice. So Chopin's choice of that title may seem a little understated, or even ironic: his études certainly do exercise one's technique, but they are expressive, poetic, passionate, and anything but dry. I think the title fits beautifully: shouldn't learning always be this way?