Day 15

I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin

I will admit this being my favorite, possibly because of the dynamic contrast and that low D-flat that keeps punctuating the downbeat in the opening bars.

With this fourth and final recording, we leave Gershwin’s world of sound and move closer to Christmas.


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Day 14

Strike Up the Band by George Gershwin

Perhaps part of Gershwin’s success is that he was so in tune with the life and times of America. When hearing this piece, I can think of either a marching band coming down the street in a parade, or a concert band getting ready to play on the town green in the gazebo.


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Day 13

‘S Wonderful by George Gershwin

This song is really wonderful, with or without the S’! I know it might seem strange to have Gershwin in an Advent Calendar, but 25 straight Christmas songs isn’t my idea of fun.

We’ll get to the Christmas songs next week, I promise!


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Day 12

Swanee by George Gershwin

While many people are looking forward to the 100th Anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue, I’m choosing to celebrate Gershwin’s 125th Birthday this past September 26th. This is the first of four improvisations you’ll hear this week.


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Day 8

Noël from The Seasons of Tchaikovsky

The Seasons is a wonderful collection of pieces that I only learned about later in life. Since they were written for a monthly magazine targeting amateur pianists, they are quite accessible.

The December installment invokes a feeling of Christmas, and brings us to the end of this set of three pieces.


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Day 7

Troïka from The Seasons of Tchaikovsky

The Seasons is a wonderful collection of pieces that I only learned about later in life. Since they were written for a monthly magazine targeting amateur pianists, they are quite accessible.

A troïka is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses side by side, versus grouped in a triangular pattern.


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Day 6

Chant d’Automne from The Seasons of Tchaikovsky

The Seasons is a wonderful collection of pieces that I only learned about later in life. Since they were written for a monthly magazine targeting amateur pianists, they are quite accessible.

The Song of Autumn, written for October, makes it clear that early winter is approaching.


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Day 5

Intermezzo from Faschingsschwank aus Wien by Schumann

A fellow student in my teacher’s studio was studying this for his senior recital, but I think what attracted me to Opus 26 was the fancy title. It’s so much more fun to say than Vienna Carnival, don’t you think?

The Intermezzo is the fourth of five movements in this curious piece that’s just as difficult as the more famous Carnaval, Opus 9. However, it’s quite a bit shorter, which makes it appealing to me as a doable project early next year.


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Day 2

Elsa’s Dream by Wagner trans. Liszt

Lohengrin was the second opera that I saw performed by the Metropolitan Opera, and I was hooked. The first opera was an open rehearsal of La Bohème while in high school, but that didn’t leave the same impression.

I only recently learned that Franz Liszt transcribed several scenes from his son-in-law Richard’s opera for piano solo. I played this publicly for the first time at a wedding in September, and share it online for the first time today.


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