Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, one of Western music’s revolutionaries.
As with the varying styles of Impressionist paintings, the long view represents something defined, but the closer you get, the more his compositions start to fall apart into the individual components that our minds work imperceptibly to piece together into meaningful shapes.
The long view is so sleek and seductive that listeners long ago began taking Debussy’s art for granted.
Once in a while, stating the obvious can turn on a little lightbulb.
The Pacific Standard (formerly Miller-McCune) reported yesterday that a Dutch psychologist and a team of researchers have concluded that people who see the big picture (specifically in visual art and poetry) make better critics. Continue reading →
With the 2012 Olympics nearly here, prepare to see a lot of intensely focused faces beamed around the world from London. They’ll be athletic mirrors of every great singer, conductor, pianist, violinist and orchestral timpanist.
Everyone is aware of the basic needs: dedication to your chosen activity, a commitment to practise longer and harder than your mind and body would normally allow, a need to want to risk public humiliation.
But there’s another sort of focus essential to a fine music performance that’s not about endurance or technique or bravado. Continue reading →
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall will see the Ashbridges Bay fireworks tonight (Brian Henry photo).
In honour of Victoria Day and the many different types of fireworks thousands will enjoy tonight, here are three different ways of playing Claude Debussy’s Feux d’artifice, the 12th from Vol. II of his Préludes. Continue reading →