Grand Piano – The Movie

Can you name three movies which main plot revolves around piano or piano music in general? Exactly. There’s a big lack of musical movies that have my favorite instrument in them, so I couldn’t miss out on this 2013 gem.

“Grand Piano” was released on 20th September 2013 on Austin Fantastic Fest, while his global premiere will took place on 7th March 2014. Main actors consist of Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Tamsin Egerton, Kerry Bishé and Alex Winter. It’s being distributed by Magnet Releasing, who was also responsible for “Food, Inc.” or “The Lost City” from 2005.

Main plot revolves around Tom Selznick, the most talented pianist of this generation, who stopped giving concerns due to his stage fright. After a five-year hiatus he reappears for long awaited concert in Chicago, in a full packed theater with an expectant audience. He finds a note saying “Play one wrong note and you die.” and that’s where the fun starts. Being carefully watched over by an anonymous sniper, Tom has to look for help without being detected

As the movie will be released in almost 4 months, I certainly have something to look forward while I keep going on my adventure to become a great pianist. See you guys soon and stay tuned for more content!

Ludwig van Beethoven

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What would article series about composers be without Ludwig van Beethoven, one more on the long list of the greatest ones. Surprisingly, the date of birth of Ludwig is not known, instead, we know when he was baptized – 17December 1770, and where he was born – in Bonn.

He died at the age of 56 on 26th March 1827, after losing his hearing and heavy alcohol-related problems, as the autopsy revealed huge liver damage. His friends that were present at the death of his reported that at the time of his death, there was a peal of thunder at the sole moment of his death.

Beethoven started displaying his music skills at a young age, taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe. He intended to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn during his first 22 years of life, and realized it in 1792 when he moved to Vienna and began studying with Haydn, which he had already befriended earlier. At that time, he was quickly gaining a reputation as virtuoso pianist.

His hearing problems started around 1796, by the age of 26, when he began to lose his hearing. Autopsy revealed that he “distended inner ear”, which developed lesions over time, making it difficult for him to hear music. Large amount of his hearing aids can be found at the Beethoven House Museum in Bonn, Germany. He could still hear music and talk “normally” until 1812, but after 1814 he was considered completely deaf.

Ludwig is considered one of the giants of classical music, often referred to as one of the Three Bs (Beethoven, Bach and Brahms). Interesting fact – his music is featured twice on the Voyager Golden Record (phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the Voyager probes – Wikipedia). He composed in several different genres and for a huge variety of instruments. His works include nine symphonies, a dozen pieces of “occasional” music, seven concerti, four shorter works, only one opera (Fidelio), two masses, thirty two piano sonatas, 10 violin sonatas, 5 cello sonatas and one for the French horn, 16 string quarters, five works for string quintet, seven for piano trio, five for string trio and more than a dozen for combinations of wind instruments.

I often play his music and I really like the way he composed, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a museum dedicated to him in his place of birth (Bonn), called 

Introduction and Johann Sebastian Bach

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Before I get into the actual content, I wanted to greet You, the reader of my blog. I’m going to dedicate it to thing, that played one of the main roles in my life. You guessed right, the Piano. I’ll start off with a series of short articles about the compositors, so I shall bore you no more. Enjoy your read as I start off with Johann Sebastian Bach!

Bach was born on 31st March 1685 in Eisenach as the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach and died at the age of 65 on 28th July 1750. He was a German composer, organist, violist, violinist, and harpsichordist of Baroque. His music had a lot of rhythms, textures and forms from abroad, mainly Italy and France. He had attended St Michael’s School in Lüneburg, for a period of two years – apparently at his own initiative.

Not many people know, but all of five Johann’s sons, namely Wilhelm Friedemann, Johann Gottfried Bernhand, Johann Christoph Fredrich, Johann Christian and Carl Philipp Emanuel, became well known musicians. Not only his sons, but also his daughters were part of the music culture in the XVIII century, but, to my knowledge, they had some problems participating openly, due to their gender.

Bach is the author of over one thousand well known music masterpieces, which were cataloged in XX century by Wolfgang Schmieder. He wrote for almost all genres that were familiar to him, excluding, for unknown reason, operas. During his lifetime, he was renowned as an organist, organ consultant and organ music composer, creating preludes, fantasias and toccatas, or even fugues.

He wasn’t so well known during his lifetime, but just like Picasso, he became famous some time after his death, particularly during the first half of the 19th century, when he started to be regarded as one of the greatest composers.

I hope you enjoyed this short article about Johann Sebastian Bach, and if you’re looking for more, stay tuned!