I’ve been listening to a variety of music again these days. Here are a few I thought you might be interested in and some history about them.
Fritz Kreisler – Though he passed away more than 50 years ago and his prime recordings were done before 1940 I have to say that I am, none the less, a true believer. Kreisler was one of the last composer/virtuosos.
His warm tone and even vibrato express great character. His compositions also have this peculiar charm.
Sergei Prokofiev Piano Concertos-I love all five of them and especially the recording by pianist Michel Beroff with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Kurt Masur.
Melodically, rhythmically and harmonically Prokofiev’s music slays me and the piano concertos are especially effective. Prokofiev too was a composer/virtuoso.
Samson Francois (the complete piano works of Maurice Ravel)-Francois died at the early age of 46 in October, 1970. He lived an intense life and his virtuosity as a pianist extended to a keen interest in jazz. In 2013 box sets of his Ravel and Debussy recordings were released and they are a real treasure.
Anyone who knows me is familiar with my interest in Ravel. Since the age of 18 I have been collecting recordings and books on Ravel. I have about 20 different biographies and studies in English on this very French composer. I have visited his home in Montfort L’Amaury several times (it is now a museum). I have played his piano and I helped do some research for the museum by tracking down reviews and accounts of his concert in Minneapolis on his only U.S. tour in 1927. I did this research at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.
December 28 marked the 79th anniversary of his death.
So what about you? What are you into as we head into 2017?
When you have been at something as long as I have you come to a point where you begin to closely scrutinize what, if any, impact your life’s vocation has had on the world at large. I began playing guitar at the age of eight. I joined the Musician’s Union at age fourteen when I commenced playing professionally. So I have been at this endeavor for a good long time. I have written about 235 songs and recorded nearly all of them as my discography can attest to. Still, it is only prudent to take an honest look at your life and work.
I have done my best. That is something I am quite certain of and I still have the desire to do better. Luckily I am in a profession where people give you an immediate feedback. How fortunate are the performers of any art where an audience actually applauds your efforts.
As long as I can produce smiles and appreciation I will continue.