Friday, February 13, 2009

There are many things in this life that I love. In fact, there are so many things that I have a strong desire to list them here.

However I won't. Not tonight.

Tonight I want to talk about a love of mine that is growing. With the proximity to V-Day, you might think that this will be a confession that there is a special lady out there that has stolen my heart.

Her name is....

But what I am really writing about is my growing love for two fine instruments.



And the

I have always appreciated these instruments. The ability of a piano to bring joy to any event astounds me, and I always watched with jealousy as friends who could play bellied up to the keyboard and pounded out a tune for all to appreciate. And I had a friend growing up who could play the violin very well, and I loved to listen to her. My great-grandfather could also play. He was a fiddler, and a damn fine one. I loved listening to him get out the fiddle and bow and knock out a tune.
But as late I have come to truly crave these two instruments' sounds. Perhaps it comes from listening to public radio. Perhaps it is because of the cd my friend Natarj gave me. Or perhaps it is just a time in my life where the value of these amazing instruments is starting to break through.
Whatever it is, I love it. I want more of it. I have begun looking up great performances on You Tube. I have one on right now.
They both speak to me differently, the piano and the violin.
The piano holds for me excitement. It seems to exude energy. Whether it is being used to liven up a dance hall or impress relatives, a piano being played immediately becomes the center of a room's attention. As fingers glide from key to key, it is as though entire stories are being told. The piano physically brings thoughts to life. The tales that a piano player can tell are endless, without ever opening his or her mouth, and I love it.
The violin is also full of energy, but for me, it is a smoother, more concentrated energy. It seems to envelope me in warmth. A violin, seems to draw me to it. it is as though all within the sound of its music are under its care. It ties the world around it to it as is smoothly caresses it with the haunting melodies that slip from its strings. While the piano livens a room, the violin seduces. It makes those listening want to feel the emotions coming forth purely to be on the same wavelength of the player, to be a part of the player's dream.

But I am "young" in my love for these instruments. I don't know who I want to listen to. I don't know who the greatest players of our time....or previous times...are. I know a few orchestra's, but I want to know who I should listen to, which composers, new and old.

Now, when my friend Luke posted about his love of sugar cookies, dozens of cookies suddenly appeared on his doorstep. While I do not expect classical music to suddenly appear at my door (or even better, an actual violinist...haha...that would rock) I do expect some input here. Who do ya'll love?

Who plays the best violin today? The best piano? Who is writing the best, most provocative music for these instruments?

Let me hear from ya.


Peter said...

This is right up my alley, so I think I can help you out.
As far as piano goes, look to classical and romantic period composers, but also make sure to balance it out with some jazz. Chopin and Debussy are very good. Vince Guaraldi is also one of my favorites. Haydn and Mozart have great stuff for piano and violin.
For violin, my favorites are mostly baroque period, but classical period stuff is good too. Vivaldi, Pietro Locatelli, Telemann and others are good choices. Like I said, look in the baroque period for great violin.
I also love Henry Mancini who has some great piano and strings pieces. One of his songs is actually called 'Piano and Strings'; it's very smooth.
Really, there is a plethora wonderfull piano and violin music out there. I have a lot of this kind of music if you would care to sample it. Find what you like and I can recommend other things for you to listen to.

karlie nicole mann. said...

i will come to your door and play the viola.

it's way better than the violin, and if you don't think so i will smash it over your head. :)

luke said...

i once had a conversation with a music major about modern classical stuff and how cool all this new stuff really is--but all you hear is the old stuff. i love the old stuff, but mostly because that's all i know. damn, i wish i remembered any of the composers names, or the name of the guy i talked to for that matter. it was in colorado and i'm pretty sure he is out of the country for a few years now.

i like rachmaninov.

and one of my secret dreams if i had endless money would be to hire someone to play the piano live for me whenever i wanted--in my own home. that would be unreal.

rachel rianne said...

you buy a piano, put on your doorstep, and i promise you that i'll come play it. at least once.

classical piano music?
i'm a fan of debussy.

a good pianist?
eldar djangirov.
he's like 20.
jazz piano.

Jenna said...

Three of my favorite piano composers were already hit on by other comments- Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmoninov.
Listen to Chopins Nocturne's. A Nocturne will calm your nerves any day. I can't count the number of times when I have recovered the most awful day by soaking up the simple, yet intricately beautiful melodies of a Nocturne.
Fav piece by Debussy- Claire De Lune. This song tells a story. What story? You choose. I have my own personal story attached to it. The contrasting parts of the song make it intriguing, but every part eventually leads back to the first, unforgettable melody.

BUT for something different, I would point you to the modern composer Lorie Line. Her music is nothing too complex, but I find it very fresh... full of jokes, mixed with jazz from time to time. Her pieces have a variety of music in them, that's why I love her. The melodies she writes enchant me for some reason. I play her music a lot. I've never heard anyone else rave about her, so you may not even like her.

Liz.EJ.Lizzard.Elizabeth. said...

I absolutely love!! playing in a string quartet. I'll let you know when the orchestra concerts are this semester, as well if there's a friend's quartet playing. Maybe jenna and I could play for you sometime (her on piano and me on viola :)
Ok, so k-state has this amazing music database. use Sam's to check it out: Naxos music library. You can look up and listen to tons of stuff :)
One of my all time favorite composers is Dvorak. Check out any of his stuff, but especially quartets, where I've discovered a deep amore.
start here:

Liz.EJ.Lizzard.Elizabeth. said...

Actually the "American" is better, start there :)

Millie Jo said...

I love Bach, and I'm sure you find him in both piano and violin. I also love Mendelson for the piano. He wrote some very powerful and also playful pieces. Try a scherto or however you spell that!