Music in Lyddington: Ching-Yun Hu

Music in Lyddington offers an annual series of small classical concerts in a stunning setting – the church is beautiful and at the same time spacious and intimate. I went to a piano recital by Ching-Yun Hu yesterday and I enjoyed it very much, despite the nightmare that was getting there and back.

She played Beethoven’s Sonata in A, Op.101, two pieces by Chopin: Scherzo No.4 in E, Op.54, and Polonaise in A flat Op.53, and after the interval four Schubert transcriptions by Liszt, i.e. Aufenhalt, Standchen von Shakespeare, Auf dem Wasser zu Singen, Erlkonig, followed by one of two Rachmaninov’s Sonata, No.2 in B flat minor Op.36.

I particularly liked the Erlkoenig piece because although I knew the poem before she explained how Liszt’s transcription distinguished four different ‘voices’ – the narrator, the father, the son, and the Erlkoenig. Listening to the piece I really felt I could follow the ‘story’ in musical terms, too.

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Benjamin Zander on classical music

This is a fantastic talk by conductor, music teacher, and pianist Benjamin Zander.

I know that my eyes are shining every time I talk about music! I was also quite pleased that I knew the piece he was playing. It’s beautiful.

Edit: I keep thinking about Zander’s comments on how the improvement of (piano) playing skills goes along with reducing the number of impulses when playing. If I understand it correctly, an impulse is an expression of emphasis, somewhere between the level of a note and a phrase. I think it means taking a step back from counting to see the bigger picture – the melody is still there, and the pulse is still there, but rather than emphasising the pulse with a steady ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, the pulse fades into the background (but doesn’t disappear entirely) and becomes the supporting act rather than the main actor. Hm.