replay: a clip too good for just one day
If you were a musician, could anything be worse than to find, one day, that unlike the day before, and the day before that, and all the other days you could remember, you were no longer able to play your instrument? That’s what happened, in 1958, to this man, the great British classical pianist Solomon Cutner (known professionally simply as Solomon). Then 56 years old and at the height of his career, he suffered a stroke. It left his right arm paralyzed, silencing him for the rest of his life, which lasted another 32 years.
Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor (“Appassionata” )/Solomon, piano
Andras Schiff on Beethoven’s piano sonatas
In London a couple years ago, pianist Andras Schiff explored Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in a series of much-acclaimed lecture-recitals, which can be heard here.
Thelonious Monk and Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, et al.
Thelonious Monk possessed an impressive knowledge of, and appreciation for, Western classical music, not to mention an encyclopedic knowledge of hymns and gospel music, American popular songs, and a variety of obscure art songs that defy easy categorization. For him, it was all music. Once in 1966, a phalanx of reporters in Helsinki pressed Monk about his thoughts on classical music and whether or not jazz and classical can come together. His drummer, Ben Riley, watched the conversation unfold: ‘Everyone wanted him to answer, give some type of definition between classical music and jazz . . . So he says, ‘Two is one,’ and that stopped the whole room. No one else said anything else.’ Two is one, indeed. Monk loved Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, and Bach, and like many of his peers of the bebop generation, he took an interest in Igor Stravinsky.—Robin D. G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (2009)
(Originally posted on 11/3/09.)
Since yesterday I’ve been listening nearly nonstop to WKCR-FM, which (as mentioned in yesterday’s post) is devoting three straight days to the music of Lester Young and Charlie Parker, in celebration of their respective birthdays (LY’s was Friday, CP’s is tomorrow). Something happens—something delicious—when you surrender your ears and yourself to someone’s music for such a sustained period of time. Little by little, that musician moves in, taking up residence in your brain. Their distinctive voice becomes, for a time, inseparable from everything else you’re hearing and seeing and thinking and feeling. If you’d like to experience this for yourself, go here (you won’t regret it).