Monday, April 10, 2006

Things to read and hear

A rash of referrals on my statcounter from a site I hadn't seen before led me to this excellent development: a site for newcomers to classical music that demystifies the whole caboodle without talking down. His hefty referral to this blog suggests another online soulmate. Bravo, Tobin! And thanks for the plug.

Meanwhile I'm listening obsessively to Chopin Waltzes. How peculiar - I haven't experienced this particular addiction since the age of 14. But it's not a second childhood; instead, it's the result of the new recording by Stephen Kovacevich which seems to have cleared my ears of all prior expectations and made me realise anew just what fabulous pieces they are. No salon pussyfooting for our Stephen: instead there's soul, fire, songfulness, pathos and passion. Best of all, a kind of wicked glee about the way he tackles numbers like the yodelly G flat major waltz and the virtuoso flourishes in the Grand Valses Brilliantes. I've never heard Chopin playing quite like this before, but I'm totally hooked. Strongly recommended.