I’ve been wanting to have more of my friends write for this blog, and this week’s post has been graciously contributed by my wonderful pianist friend Lauren! Enjoy…
When someone mentions a “Chopin competition,” there is inarguably only one that comes to mind, and that is the Chopin Piano Competition, held in Warsaw, Poland, every five years since 1955. If you haven’t kept up with what’s been going on, for the month of October these marvelous musicians have been competing in what is probably one of the most momentous and memorable experiences of their lives. Many of the performers from previous years–Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Garrick Ohlsson, to name a brief few–have gone on to fabulous careers and established a name for themselves as a result of participating in this competition, so I have high hopes for some of these phenomenal young artists. I’ve been incredibly engrossed in performance-watching (belated), scoring, artist bio research, interviews, and personal budgetary restrictions for the next five years in hopes of attending the XVIII.
In our digital age, the smartphone is an invaluable tool. It’s almost like Mary Poppins’ bag: a small, relatively unobtrusive item that gives you unthinkable access to myriads of tools and resources. Here are a few of my favorite music-related apps on my iPhone–and here’s a disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post–these are all apps that I discovered mostly on my own and use regularly–I promise!
A portrait of Goethe by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1828.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832)–(and tell me that isn’t the most German name you’ve ever encountered)–played an astoundingly large role in the world of German Romantic music, especially considering that he was not a musician himself. His poems were set to music by multitudes of composers, and many of these settings have become revered classics in the vocal repertoire.
But while we probably best remember settings such as Schubert’s–much has been made, for example, of the genius in his setting of Gretchen am Spinnrade when he was just 17 years old–it’s quite likely that Goethe would not have approved of Schubert’s blatant text painting. He wrote to his composer friend Zelter on May 2, 1820: