Friday, 26 June 2015

Recent Activities




                         My 1978 David Rubio harpsichord (Duns Tew) 
A copy of a Flemish 18th century instrument by Joannes Daniel Dulcken



A sketch of me by the Italian artist Rosetta Berardi in 1980

Suanono piano...

All softly playing
With head to the music bent
And fingers straying
Upon an instrument

ti ricordo!   Rosetta



I have recently been completely tied up with recent activities of a definitely non-musical nature.


However I have recently been doing far more harpsichord practice than usual - mainly Bach, Couperin and Scarlatti.

Like many of you I expect I have been watching and listening in awe to  the extraordinarily gifted young people taking part in the Tchaikovsky Competition on medici.tv

I am looking forward to attending the Duszniki Zdroj International Chopin Piano Festival and also the Chopin i jego Europa (Chopin and His Europe) Festival in Warsaw, both in August.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pic-Nic at the Country House of Otwock Wielki near Warsaw, Poland 3 May 2015


Click on photographs to enlarge - far superior rendition


We had a lovely day at the Palace of Otwock Wielki on May 3rd  'Constitution Day'. 


Cupid strikes! Detail from a restored tapestry in the palace

The Lake
For more details and photographs  see:  

http://casualcars.blogspot.com/2015/05/pic-nic-at-country-house-of-otwock.html

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

17th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition, Warsaw, 2015


Jan Ignacy Paderewski

With the tremendous advances in technology in the last five years and the sterling efforts of the National Fryderyk Chopin Institute in providing live streaming of the entire competition, I feel a detailed blog of the competition as I last presented it in 2010 is now redundant. 

You will be able to judge every stage of the competition for yourselves without me wittering on about performances. My opinions expressed in 2010 of Chopin, pianists, performing and competitions have scarcely changed. I may keep the blog as a type of occasional personal internet journal instead of writing it in longhand as I once did years ago. One can convert these long festival and competition blogs into printed books at modest cost which I have done.

I receive so little feedback or appreciation of my musical blogs apart from my closest friends I really cannot see the point of engaging in this exhausting task anymore. Not being a Polish Professor of Music has really done for my critical credibility here.  

As a creative artist and writer I have never considered myself 'a critic' or 'journalist' and share most of the negative appraisals of those occupations. I have always attempted to give a balanced expression of my feelings that stem from a great love of music, in particular the piano and pianists. I did study the piano and harpsichord seriously in London for many years but sensibly accepted the fact I lacked sufficient talent for a professional career and so wandered in the groves of academe with the greatest of pleasure. In short my opinions are simply those of a trained musician and informed mélomane.
I have always believed together with Joseph Addison, the distinguished and influential 17th century English essayist, that

A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer [read 'musician'], and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation.

I have always tried to observe this policy.


However in the back of my mind lurks the phrase 'too many words' to paraphrase Emperor Joseph II from the film Amadeus.

The Preliminary Rounds of the competition are now available streamed live on this link:


I expect when the Duszniki Zdroj International Chopin Festival and the Chopin and His Europe International Music Festival are inevitably live-streamed I shall stop commenting on them in detail also.