Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Thrill of Discovery

This is the easy part.

I remember working on the piano music of Johannes Brahms for the first time. Every time I turned the page I found something exciting, something new and interesting and emotionally and intellectually arresting. It made me want to keep going.

It is strange to think that for many of us, that joy of finding new things is absent. An awful lot of people seem stuck in a circular pattern of knowing what they like and liking what they know. That usually leads to a very small repertoire.

Contrast this with the archive at pianonoise. Already there are close to 500 recordings, and they span (or soon will) the entire gamut of available history, from the earliest surviving keyboard music (c.1360) to the current year (a piece from January of 2015). Most of the music was written in Europe, but there is some from Asia and Africa and America. There is some for piano and for organ, to say nothing of the possibilities of combining the two or adding a solo instrument (there are already a few of those). Clearly, your webmaestro likes to explore.

There is nothing so energizing as discovering a whole lot of great music that you didn't even know existed, and discovering that you can access it, too. It is ridiculous how, in this internet age, one can find something, download and print it, and take it to the organ or the piano in under five minutes. Ridiculous. And wonderful.

The downside to all of this is that one's eyes are always bigger than one's stomach. It is always easier to decide to learn the complete works of your favorite composer than it is to actually do it. The joy of discovery is only the beginning. The hard work, the discipline, and the repetition, will follow.

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