Gregg describes his awe-filled experience visiting the house where Schubert was born in Vienna.
It's so easy to find oneself attracted to the music of Franz Schubert. His unmatched gift for lyricism makes him so approachable, so comprehensible; and we feel ourselves being pulled into his musical world – in my case, at a very early age. But now, with the wisdom of my years, my appreciation for Schubert has deepened. For lying within this musical world of color and melodic beauty is a powerful undertow of mystery, of light and dark, of profundity beyond the years of a young genius who lived only until the age of 31. January 31st, 2013 marks the 215th anniversary of Schubert's birth - so I thought it was an opportune time to share my thoughts on one of my all-time favorite composers.
by Jonathan Biss (Pianist Jonathan Biss decodes the unconventional relationship between Robert Schumann and his wife Clara in this second essay for our week dedicated to this composer. Click the audio link above to hear him play Schumann and discuss his work with Performance Today host Fred Child.)
Glenn Gould was born 80 years ago today. To listeners of classical music, Gould was an iconoclastic pianist, most famous for the interpretations of Bach that, in his day, stirred controversy for their relative strangeness. To everyone else, Gould was a broadcaster and essayist.
The Knabe baby grand did a cartwheel and landed on its back, legs poking into the air. A Lester upright thudded onto its side with a final groan of strings, a death-rattling chord. After 10 pianos were dumped, a small yellow loader with a claw in front scuttled in like a vicious beetle, crushing keyboards, soundboards and cases into a pile.
The site, a trash-transfer station in this town 20 miles north of Philadelphia, is just one place where pianos go to die. This kind of scene has become increasingly common. The value of used pianos, especially uprights, has plummeted in recent years.
It is a grim vision of the classical music concert: a sea of hollow-eyed faces in the dark, shushing the slightest peep during boring evenings stifled by ritual. The antidote? Audience members should be able to laugh, to clap in midperformance and to whoop with joy, if so moved.