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William Bolcom #469562
02/23/09 02:58 PM
02/23/09 02:58 PM
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LiszThalberg Offline OP
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I've been listening to alot of him lately. I want to play his three ghost rags at some point.

I think his writing style is amazing. No wonder he's won many awards for his composition.

My teacher asked me to play "The Serpant's Kiss" with her, and I think it will be an amazing piece from what I've heard on Youtube.

Is anyone a Bolcom fan out there? Any reccomendations?

Matt

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Re: William Bolcom #469563
02/23/09 03:01 PM
02/23/09 03:01 PM
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Philadelphia
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I only know his "Graceful Ghost" rag, but I love it - I'd love to learn some of his other music. What a wonderful composer.

Re: William Bolcom #469564
02/23/09 03:12 PM
02/23/09 03:12 PM
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Posts: 1,035
Texas
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The two-piano Serpent's Kiss is a lot of fun to play.


Houston, Texas
Re: William Bolcom #469565
02/23/09 03:16 PM
02/23/09 03:16 PM
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I'm playing the Garden of Eden Suite for a recital next month. The solo version of Serpent's Kiss is pretty awkward in a few places, but definitely not too challenging! Wonderful music, of course--all the rags are.

Also don't miss the Piano Concerto (a delightful romp through several different styles of American music!), the 12 New Etudes for Piano, the cabaret songs, and pretty much anything else he's written. It's amazing to me that most people are unfamiliar with his music outside of the rags--he just recently finished his 8th symphony!

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Re: William Bolcom #469566
02/23/09 03:26 PM
02/23/09 03:26 PM
Joined: May 2001
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New York City
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The first contestant in the Van Cliburn Competition prelims in NYC played the Graceful Ghost Rag and Poltergeist Rag. I thought they were both terrific.

I think Brendan may have played the Graceful Ghost Rag. Since he is very knowledgable about contemporary music, you might consider sending him or RealPlayer a PM him about Bolcom's music.

Re: William Bolcom #469567
02/23/09 03:39 PM
02/23/09 03:39 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
Also don't miss the Piano Concerto (a delightful romp through several different styles of American music
I read something about a 2 piano concerto for 2 left hands laugh

He's brilliant!

Re: William Bolcom #469568
02/23/09 03:55 PM
02/23/09 03:55 PM
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Posts: 3,886
San Francisco
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I've played the Graceful Ghost Rag at many events - maybe I'll post a recording. smile

The other two in the set are quite tricky - I've only read through them.

I've performed one of his Gospel Preludes for organ - it was hair-raising, especially since I'm not used to playing glissandos on a pipe organ. laugh

Re: William Bolcom #469569
02/23/09 03:56 PM
02/23/09 03:56 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by whippen boy:
I've played the Graceful Ghost Rag at many events - maybe I'll post a recording. smile
Please do!

Matt

Re: William Bolcom #469570
02/23/09 04:20 PM
02/23/09 04:20 PM
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San Francisco
whippen boy Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Debussy20:
Quote
Originally posted by whippen boy:
[b] I've played the Graceful Ghost Rag at many events - maybe I'll post a recording. smile
Please do!

Matt [/b]
OK! laugh This is an unpolished version (meaning it has mistakes shocked ); it was a very impromptu recording session. whome

Since I wanted to post this quickly, I made a very rough edit at the start of the trio -you'll notice a click at that point (sorry).

Re: William Bolcom #469571
02/23/09 05:25 PM
02/23/09 05:25 PM
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Pacific Northwest, US.
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Another 'don't miss' from Bolcom: Black Host for organ, chimes, cymbals, bass drum and electronic tape. The middle movement is a zany rag, but the outer movements aren't for the weak, especially if one is prone to nightmares.

The first time I heard this composition live (in a dark, damp and drafty gothic parish church) it scared the livin' -fill in the blank- out of me!


Jason
Re: William Bolcom #469572
02/23/09 05:33 PM
02/23/09 05:33 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 1,501
Champaign, IL
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I'm a real fan of the Garden of Eden.


Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon
Re: William Bolcom #469573
02/23/09 06:05 PM
02/23/09 06:05 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Debussy20:
Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
[b] Also don't miss the Piano Concerto (a delightful romp through several different styles of American music
I read something about a 2 piano concerto for 2 left hands laugh

He's brilliant! [/b]
Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that one--the concerto I had mentioned is another work. Definitely look into both!

Re: William Bolcom #469574
02/23/09 09:09 PM
02/23/09 09:09 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
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Queens, NY
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Quote
Originally posted by Debussy20:
I've been listening to alot of him lately. I want to play his three ghost rags at some point.

I think his writing style is amazing. No wonder he's won many awards for his composition.

My teacher asked me to play "The Serpant's Kiss" with her, and I think it will be an amazing piece from what I've heard on Youtube.

Is anyone a Bolcom fan out there? Any reccomendations?

Matt
I'm a Bolcom fan. But of his organ pieces. Some very innovative 20th century ideas.

Re: William Bolcom #469575
02/23/09 09:11 PM
02/23/09 09:11 PM
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Posts: 1,043
Queens, NY
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Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Another 'don't miss' from Bolcom: Black Host for organ, chimes, cymbals, bass drum and electronic tape. The middle movement is a zany rag, but the outer movements aren't for the weak, especially if one is prone to nightmares.

The first time I heard this composition live (in a dark, damp and drafty gothic parish church) it scared the livin' -fill in the blank- out of me!
Amazing piece of music. I know it well.

Re: William Bolcom #469576
02/23/09 09:28 PM
02/23/09 09:28 PM
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Oakland
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Then there is Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise, for your gustatory delight.


Semipro Tech
Re: William Bolcom #469577
02/23/09 10:56 PM
02/23/09 10:56 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,515
Victoria, BC
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Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
Then there is Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise, for your gustatory delight.
I heard Jody Applebaum, soprano and wife of Marc Andre-Hamlin, and Hamelin perform this in concert. A delight! They have also recorded it.

Cheers!


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: William Bolcom #469578
02/23/09 11:00 PM
02/23/09 11:00 PM
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Posts: 848
New York City
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I found out about Bolcom from this forum. I immediately ordered his complete piano rags (sheet music)(hasn't arrived yet). I've only heard "Graceful Ghost" and "Serpent's Kiss" but am looking forward to hearing more.


[Linked Image]
Re: William Bolcom #469579
02/23/09 11:15 PM
02/23/09 11:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,786
Ann Arbor, MI
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I've heard William Bolcom and his wife singer Joan Morris perform here many times in a cabaret setting. They are a truly wonderful duo and we're proud to have them in our midst.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: William Bolcom #469580
02/24/09 01:08 AM
02/24/09 01:08 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
[b] Then there is Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise, for your gustatory delight.
I heard Jody Applebaum, soprano and wife of Marc Andre-Hamlin, and Hamelin perform this in concert. A delight! They have also recorded it.

Cheers! [/b]
Just a slight correction that really doesn't matter to me beyond putting the record straight (and it's not my place to announce)--sadly, they are no longer together. Truly, the whole CD they made together, "Serious Fun!" will continue to delight listeners however!

To return to the topic, did anyone know he studied composition with Messiaen? One of the many great attributes of his work, to me, is his deliberate and intelligently planned harmonic language that is subtle, surprising, and quirky, without having "shock factor" (like someone saying, "ha! didn't see that coming!"). Perhaps I have worded it poorly, but his sly harmonic taste is a pleasure to work with while studying his rags, which are fairly innocent on the surface. A mild, but in my opinion very funny example, is in "The Eternal Feminine" which Bolcom notes (paraphrased, don't have book here), "has a harmonically devious third strain that calls to mind the mystery of woman." And one of my favorite of all the rags, "Dream Shadows," uses a widely varied range of some breathtaking harmonic constructions.

By the way, has anyone here played The Garden of Eden and gotten negative responses from religious listeners? I have been taken aback, frankly, by almost across-the-board poor reception from who I thought might be casual listeners otherwise, but were verbal about being offended in some way by Bolcom's choice of inspiration. I have the feeling that if I had said nothing of the program, they would have loved the rags--but obviously, knowing the program is so much more fun, especially when it comes to things like the significance of the whistled theme at the end of Serpent's Kiss!

Re: William Bolcom #469581
02/24/09 01:10 AM
02/24/09 01:10 AM
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Pacific Northwest, US.
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Quote
Originally posted by jazzyprof:
I've heard William Bolcom and his wife singer Joan Morris perform here many times in a cabaret setting. They are a truly wonderful duo and we're proud to have them in our midst.
And lucky you. They did an album (did it make it to CD?) entitled 'After the Ball - A Treasury of Turn-of-the Century Pop Songs'.

What a delectable collection of the most delicious morsels. I particularly remember 'Under the Bamboo Tree'... back at uni, some mates and I had a bit of a smoke and listened to that song. We started to laugh so hard... but then laughter turned to tears as one after another of us realized just what a gorgeous tune it was. And of course Joan Morris sang it to a farthing.

'Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise' was mentioned earlier. A party piece if there ever was one. Didn't Joan and William do that as an encore at many of their concerts? They probably always brought the house down.

A precious combination: Joan Morris and William Bolcom.


Jason
Re: William Bolcom #469582
02/24/09 01:27 AM
02/24/09 01:27 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
Truly, the whole CD they made together, "Serious Fun!" will continue to delight listeners however!

To return to the topic, did anyone know he studied composition with Messiaen?
I must have missed 'Serious Fun!', something I must seek out.

I was aware that Bolcom studied with Messiaen, though he seems to have escaped Messiaen's intense harmonic charisma. Unlike some other students (or 'groupies') of Messiaen I've heard, Bolcom has always had a very individual style. What did he really learn from Messiaen, probably only a question Bolcom can answer.

Otherwise, Messiaen's unique writing for the organ has ricocheted a bit too uncomfortably with those of his students who concentrated on composing for that instrument.


Jason
Re: William Bolcom #469583
02/24/09 02:52 AM
02/24/09 02:52 AM
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Victoria, BC
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Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
Truly, the whole CD they made together, "Serious Fun!" will continue to delight listeners however!

To return to the topic, did anyone know he studied composition with Messiaen?
I must have missed 'Serious Fun!', something I must seek out.

[...]
The CD was produced independently on - literally - a no name label; i.e., there is no label name on the CD, on the "spine" nor in the booklet. It was recorded in recital 15 and 16 September, 2002 at the Windmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, using an Estonia 190 provided by Cunningham Piano Co., Philadelphia. In very small print : "Manufactured in the USA by Klarity Multimedia Inc., 1-888-387-8273, www.klarity.com

I bought my two copies directly from Jody Appelbaum; perhaps Klarity can help you find a copy.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: William Bolcom #469584
02/24/09 03:16 AM
02/24/09 03:16 AM
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Ann Arbor, MI
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Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:

'Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise' was mentioned earlier. A party piece if there ever was one. Didn't Joan and William do that as an encore at many of their concerts? They probably always brought the house down.
Yes, Joan can really ham it up on that one. What a peach! laugh


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: William Bolcom #469585
02/24/09 02:58 PM
02/24/09 02:58 PM
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  • whippen boy: maybe I'll post a recording.
  • Debussy20: Please do!
  • whippen boy: OK! (link to Graceful Ghost Rag )

Yes, it had mistakes but was it bad enough to ignore entirely? confused [Linked Image] laugh

Re: William Bolcom #469586
02/24/09 03:14 PM
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I, for one, quite liked your recording, whippen boy! You've really nailed the style, especially in being expressive without sentimentality.

Maybe if I get brave enough, I'll post some Bolcom recordings of my own. It seems like I can't avoid a few wrong notes in live settings, though, usually because the moment gets the better of me, but maybe this forum needs more Bolcom...

Re: William Bolcom #469587
02/24/09 03:20 PM
02/24/09 03:20 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
I, for one, quite liked your recording, whippen boy! You've really nailed the style, especially in being expressive without sentimentality.

Maybe if I get brave enough, I'll post some Bolcom recordings of my own. It seems like I can't avoid a few wrong notes in live settings, though, usually because the moment gets the better of me, but maybe this forum needs more Bolcom...
Thanks for the nice reply. Yes, these pieces are quite a bit harder than most people realize. That trio section always gets me tangled up. :rolleyes:

I would love to hear more Bolcom. thumb

And I'd be very interested in hearing you play it. smile

Re: William Bolcom #469588
02/24/09 04:36 PM
02/24/09 04:36 PM
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I've played the Garden of Eden suite and am doing the violin/piano version of Graceful Ghost in a recital tonight.

It's great stuff!


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: William Bolcom #469589
02/24/09 05:04 PM
02/24/09 05:04 PM
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Well, if I do post any it won't be for a while since I'll be waiting to get recordings after my senior recital next week, but unless they're really terrible I'll at least hook you up, whippen boy.

Kreisler, what sort of reception do you get when you play The Garden of Eden? I figured that, especially after The Serpent's Kiss, everyone would be thrilled, but the last few times I've played for a few people, I get uncomfortable silences and I don't think it's because my playing is that bad! By the way, since it comes last on my program, I have opted to leave out Through Eden's Gates. Perhaps not the most politically correct option, but with my fairly shallow small-town audience I figured it would be the best way to go. Originally, I wanted to mix-and-match rags from different groups to create a sort of "ragtime sonata" (sort of like Albright's), but decided against it because I believe it's essential to play The Eternal Feminine before Serpent's Kiss (which was a keeper for the third movement), and from there it was only logical to include Old Adam!

Edit: For those who might be curious, I had considered playing the sonata like this: California Porcupine Rag, Lost Lady Rag, and The Poltergeist (there were a few other potential configurations, of course).


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