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.


Concert pianist struggles with new piece

This Guardian article describes concert pianist Steven Osborne’s struggle with a particularly difficult piece. I found it a very comforting read – it’s nice to know that it took him a few months to learn a piece, that making mistakes is normal, and that a few hearty expletives during practice are an essential part of the process!

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

There’s hope yet, for us all. Florence was a highly passionate singer, despite having very little talent. Her voice definitely has range … but she can’t handle pitch, pulse or rhythm. And yet I’m jealous she had the guts to go out and do what she loved. (Even if she did it badly).

Listen to a song here:

Everyone is musical

Another brilliant music talk. I wish I could make everyone watch this video, it’s just so … neat! Gives a wonderfully simple and impressive explanation of the pentatonic scale.

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.


So, um, this is my new blog. I’m going to ramble about music. Classical music. Mostly piano. Mostly in a largely uninformed, but hugely passionate manner. Enjoy. 🙂

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