Monday, August 24, 2015

The Mighty Accordion

When you start playing a certain instrument, it doesn’t open up to you entirely right away. It’s just like a good wine – the bouquet of taste unfolds gradually, surprising you with every flower it brings. Just like wine, music instruments are also to be properly savored with time.

I remember the old times, when what started with an indifferent playing of the “Shave and a Haircut” with years grew into a deepest passion for piano. As for the accordion, as a kid I used to perceive as the “old grandpas’ music instrument” and didn’t have much appreciation for it until not so long ago. But surprising how one’s attitude can change all of a sudden. In German accordion derives from the word ‘akkord’ which literally means “harmony”. And look how harmonious it does seem in fact!

Accordionist by MichaƂ Koralewski
I was surprised to find out that the US love has so much love for accordion. If it’s pretty clear with Russia’s historic love for it coming from the USSR times, with the US it’s a bit different. Today, there are even a few American cities that declared accordion as their ‘official music instrument’ (Ilinois, Detroit, Skokie).

The special charm of accordion to me is partly in its resemblance with the organ. Have you ever noticed how similar they sound? It’s amazing. Just like the organ, accordion mightily shakes the air and can easily teleport you into a huge concert hall if set your imagination free. Here’s a wonderful ‘street performance’ of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on two accordions to make clear what I mean exactly. Isn’t it beautiful..

Friday, July 31, 2015

Classical Music Portrait of Winter

This might be just the weird feature of my character but I tend to look for the opposites. To be more clear, here’s a perfect example – seasons of the year. It’s hot summer now and I sincerely do love these sunny days. And talking about the extremes, I would always prefer heat to freezing.

the four seasons
But, but. The warmer it is, the more I think about winter! It’s a certain kind of nostalgia that’s following me. As a music enthusiast, I sometimes see things in music terms too. Thus my winter nostalgia is best of all conveyed through the classical music related to this cold time of the year. I’ve run through a few compilations of classical music ‘winter’ works and realized that it’s just what I need to feed my longing for the season – if it’s not temperature-wise, let it be music-wise – even better!

It’s amazing how certain composers managed to created that exceptionally vivid image of Lady Winter through a limited set of sounds. To me, the brightest works in this sense would be those by Russian composers – Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Snow Maiden” or Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Daydreams”, for example. Maybe that’s because of the fact they did know what real Russian winter could be like?

What’s your musical vision of the season?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Lovely It Is to Celebrate Everything With Music

Do you remember your graduation ceremony? Was it rather official or as bright as this one? =)

I find it a great idea to make something as artistic (even if not so flawless) as the Hawaiian graduates’ final performance. Even despite the pretty big size of the class, the graduates 2015 did a pretty good job during such a short period of time. As a result, we have a funny medley of today’s most recognizable pop songs like by Wiz Khalifa’s "See You Again", Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, Macklemore’s “Thrift shop” and other hits.

Moreover, the songs list did not get limited to pop hits only. The guys also did an original performance (sang and danced) of a very old folk song that was sung by the people of Maori in New Zealand. Well, this class’ graduation is going to be remembered for quite a long time I believe!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Jackson 5 and Bach: "I Want You Back"

The 1st number one hit for The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back” – was written in the remote 1969. It didn’t take long for the song to get into all possible charts, billboards and best-song-lists. The popular song with the lead vocal by the young-young Michael Jackson made it to the Hall of Fame and became of the 500 greatest songs of all time, according to the Rollin Stone. A generation’s hit it is.
The Jackson 5
And if you rewind the time many years back you’ll get a different type of ‘hits’. The classical, the powerful, the stunning Bach epoch! Brandenburg Concertos, Minuet in G, Gavotte – these pieces don’t need to be introduced to a classical music fan. What if the best of two era worked together? ThePianoGuys went up for this challenge and brought about a funny mix of the two epochs.

So here we are – an old hit, some very old hits and a modern hit-mix of these two – the music collision of 1770 and 1970:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rare Attitude to Pachelbel's Canon in D

There is a number of classical music pieces that have been around for years.. no, for centuries! There are recognized by any musician at the first note and keep being performed at many occasions. The surprising thing is that despite the countless number of times we heard those amazing music gems, we still enjoy them every time the familiar melody sounds. The eternal classical ‘hits’ may I say always bring a special joy to the heart and lift the spirit. One can’t but be moved by the magic sounds of Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, Ave Maria, Clair de Lune and the list can go on and on. For every musician this list is special and may differ depending on the personal preferences. However, some of the pieces will be found on anyone’s music favs list!

Today I was amused by a video I came across – a funny ‘rant’ about a piece that’s been following a musician during all his life. Never looked at it from this perspective! The work is the well-known Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel. The one that’s on My personal list, to be honest. Well, I had a good laugh watching it!