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Sam S Offline OP
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Welcome to the general discussion thread for the Modern Music Themed Recital, April 2022 edition!

The performances are here!

Please use this thread for any discussion of the performances. Feel free to comment on any or all individual pieces. Some members offer comments on each submission individually; others offer general congratulations. Either approach is appropriate.

There are 3 levels of comments requested by performers. Please be sure to check the comment type requested and respect the performer's wishes.

For those who wish to comment on all pieces, a copy and paste template for offering feedback can be found here:
Response Template

Please use this thread only to discuss recital performances. If you have any comments or suggestions about ways to make the recital process better, please start a separate thread.

Enjoy the recital!

Sam


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Oh dear! I submitted my pieces in haste and I forgot to put in additional info. Here goes:

I found both pieces in the current ABRSM Grade 6 syllabus.

Opening Night Jazz - It is composed by Martha Mier, and this is from her "Jazz, Rags & Blues" Book 5. There are a lot of big leaps on the LH to tackle, but I enjoyed learning this!

Rumba Toccata - I would say that this is a gem! The toccata style is certainly fun to play with, but it is also difficult as the touch will affect the sound! Paul Harvey is a pianist and music teacher, who is sadly suffering from dementia. Here is a video about him if you are interested.



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I did the same thing, Mel_Lem!! I placed "X"s in the description fields and was going to come back later and update. Sorry I forgot. I've been so busy with other things.

I submitted River Flows In You, a piece which many probably are tired of, but figured it fit the theme. I feel like the piece is easier to play on digital. I find it harder to control the sound I'd like to hear on the acoustic, perhaps too much pedal. Anyway, hope some enjoy the performance. One day I'll stop being lazy and use something other than a cell phone to record.

Looking forward to listening to others' performances.


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I just had a quick look into this large recital and randomly picked out some renditions on which I would like to comment briefly.

02 Sam – Suburban Sunday (Philip Lane) Thanks for introducing this rather enjoyable tune. Suburban Sundays must be calm and contemplative, then…

37, 38 winterflower – Searchlight Rag, The Fascinator Well… You say critical comments are allowed and “anything goes”. So I will speak my mind. I have the impression these rags are still too difficult for you. Additionally, one thing bothered me quite much: you are playing the semiquavers as triplets, like in a Swing song. But in ragtime all the notes are even, if not otherwise indicated. Swing triplets were not yet invented in those days. I do apologize for being that negative. Feel free to ignore my comment.

47 bSharpCyclist – River flows in you I like Yiruma quite much. Your rendition is okay so far, though a bit poor in dynamics. I am not sure if it is easier to play this on a digital. I think the problem with many acoustics is that many of them are not properly tuned, voiced and regulated while digitals do not encounter such problems.

48 stevedoz - Send in the clowns Marvellous, congratulations! You really did this fantastic song justice. This song is my favourite Sondheim, by the way.

54 PikaPianist – Elegy (Shostakovich) What a pleasure to listen to your rendition of this dreamy and tender piece! Maybe I will try it myself some day.

59 mel_em – Opening Night Jazz (Martha Mier) Oh, yeah. You really feel the blues, and seem to have fun when you are playing. I like that sonorous bass pattern.

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I'm going to skip around - I think these are all the original compositions, which certainly meet the theme!

06. Constantin Stephan - La tete haute et le coeur fier (2015) Wow, very dramatic. And it builds quickly from a quiet beginning to an intense ending. That must be the "head held high" part. Well done!

32. Rickster - The Magic of Music Love your singing Rick! This is a different style for you, but I like it. The words are great too - did you write those? Now if you could just sell this to some recording start - it could be made into any style really..

42. winterflower - Drifting Awake (to do) Definitely fits the title - I can imagine that dreamy time between sleep and having to get out of bed. Well done!

44. winterflower - The Waltz Fades Another great title - it does seem like a fading waltz, gradually dying away to nothing!

56. Greener / Jeff - Insanity Thriving Great vocals! You've got that "smoky bar" voice! Well done!

57. kenbakermn - When Did I Last See You Very nice - moody and dreamy. Very easy to listen to!

58. winterflower - Try 3 We shouldn't get too hung up on recording quality here - at least that's what I try to tell people. Even the simplest setup is fine. This definitely has a Far East feel - like a Chinese or Korean folk song. Very enjoyable.


Sam


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I listened to part of the recital in the background while working today. It's 4 hours in total, that's 1/2 a billable day! I'm afraid I can't listen critically to all of them, just no way it can happen. I'll post some comments on YouTube videos here and there, but from the first 20 I "Unconsciously" listened to in the background, it sounded great! I might invite some other interested musicians from a Machine Learning discord channel I frequent to hop over and listen.

Thanks for your comment P685 and for any others that are posted. I wish I had more time in my life right now to critically listen. I actually haven't played any piano this week since recording my piece on Sunday. That's a first, but hopefully things will loosen up here in the near future.

Actually, my wife and I are going to Bora Bora next month. I am so looking forward to taking a break from the insane world we live in 😁

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26 Tim Adrianson – Raintree Sketch II (Takemitsu) Though I have never been an fan of Messiaen or other similar composers who deliberately avoid catchy melodies and rather focus on interesting sounds, I must say that your rendition is probably the best contribution in this recital. Everything is truly wonderful about your recording, as if you were painting a picture on the piano. I have listened to it three times.

31 Animisha – The Wind (Chee-Hwa Tan) A nice and tiny miniature, very well played.

32 Rickster – The Magic of Music Fantastic! This could be a song from the TV series “Fame”, there were several similar songs on the show.

33 lilipad – Ashokan Farewell This is a somewhat famous tune I knew before. It is written in the style of a Scottish lament and served as a goodnight song at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance camps run by the composer. The original composition features a violin, but I like your piano transcription better.

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I'm going to filter out just the "professional" composers for this round - not that most of the composers aren't professionals, but I am talking about those that publish books of graded piano music like Mier and Crosland (I suppose even Bartok fits that category!), and composers that publish books of pieces.

04. Constantin Stephan - Room with a view (2020) Really lovely- very sensitive playing.

05. Constantin Stephan - Indigo (2003) Excellent - very well done!

16. KevinM - Wishing
23. KevinM - Moments
25. KevinM - Bluebird
Well done on all these! I need to spend some time and look into the music of Ffrench- but so many composers, so little time! Was the volume a little low on the videos?

31. Animisha - The Wind (2010) Lots of energy! Loved the video!

41. winterflower - Waltz-Serenade I love Agay's music. He wrote some interesting little pieces - and also edited some great collections. Well done!

47. bSharp(C)yclist (Dan) - River Flows In You Excellent! I don't think you had any trouble with that acoustic!

51. wr - Mikrokosmos 150 I'm glad I didn't have to count this! Well done!

53. PianoPerformance8 - I Hear What You Say Yes, music can be very consoling at times. Nicely played!

59. mel_lem (Melanie) - Opening Night Jazz Excellent - I love Martha Mier!

60. mel_lem (Melanie) - Rumba Toccata Loved it! Very energetic - a good finish to the recital!


More to come!

Sam


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Thank you, Sam for organizing another great recital. Congratulations on getting the No.1 spot again. Two in a row, I think?

01. Sam S - Bagatelle op 1 no 3 Beautiful piece! Well done!

02. Sam S - Suburban Sunday Very relaxing to listen to. The music definitely fits the title.

03. Sam S - Farewell to Stromness I love this piece. I hear it now and again on our local all-classical radio station, so it was a treat to hear you play it.

20. Sam S - In a Landscape Very calm meditative music. Loved the slide show. Impressive accomplishment on the thru-hike.

59. mel_lem (Melanie) - Opening Night Jazz I've played from some lower level Martha Mier books, but didn't know she composed more advanced pieces. That sounded great!

60. mel_lem (Melanie) - Rumba Toccata Wow! I really enjoyed that piece. I'm adding it to my "try to play someday" list.


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Sam S - three great choices and a pleasure to listen to! And many thanks for making the recital happen, too.

Constantin Stephan - lovely stuff, beautifully played. I am full of admiration of people who write and present their own music.

Tim Adrianson - your playing of the Crumb piece was hypnotic and appropriately dream-like. Loved it! For many years, Ornstein was one of those composers I would read about, but whose music never seemed to be performed. Then a neighbor loaned me the big Dover collection of his music, and I read through all of it, but didn't really seem to connect to it very well. It's wonderful to finally hear some of it in good performances from somebody who clearly does connect to it!

More later....

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Hi, folks! I'm going to start my commentary going from 60 to 01 -- it's a big recital, and some participants at the end don't get properly acknowledged.

60 Mel_lem (Melanie) Rondo Toccata Paul Harvey -- Great job in all ways on this one, Melanie! In particular, I'll call out the consistency of the rumba rhythm, the repeated notes and the accents. Wonderful way to end the e-cital.

59 Mel_lem (Melanie) Opening Night Jazz Martha Mier -- Solid rendition of boogie-woogie piece, late 30s-early 40s feel. Especially nice was the short interlude in the middle and the coda material at the end.

58 winterflower Try3 improvisation -- For me, this one came off predominantly as a Chinese folk song, probably because of the pentatonic melody. However, by turns it also seemed to evoke an American folk song and/or a Black Spiritual, depending on the subtle changes in accompanying figures. Overall, I could do with less pedal, but it was very pleasnt listening.

57 kenbakermn When Did I Last See You? improvisation -- Overall I experienced a melancholy glow, very peaceful and serene. It reminded me a piece I used to play -- Chick Corea's "Where Have I Known You Before?" -- 30-40 years ago. I very much like the simplicity of two chords in the bass shifting back and forth -- it produces an hypnotic effect,

56 Greener/Jeff Insanity Thriving improvisation -- You have a very pleasant tenor voice, Jeff, and a folksy lyrical approach with enough mild jazzy chords to keep things musically interesting. Unfortunately, I think you need to adjust the balance between the voice and the piano -- there was just too much of the latter, and I couldn't hear your lyrics or melodic line sufficiently. Otherwise, much appreciated!

55 QuentinP Glassworks - Opening Philip Glass -- I confess to being not much of a Glass fan, but I thought your rendition was accurate in all ways -- particularly the melodic line and the polyrhythmic sections you handled especially well. Very pleasurable, secure performance.

54 PikaPianist Elegy Dmitri Shostakovich -- As always, a wonderful presentation of an unfamiliar work. I can always feel your attention to the details in making a piece as musical as it deserves. "Straightforward" was the term I applied several times as I listened to your interpretation of Shosty's Elegy -- it was very satisfying throughout.

53 PianoPerformance8 I Hear What You Say Ben Crosland -- First comment, you need to turn the gain up on your recording. What I listened to was unpleasantly soft. I don't know the Crosland Song, but I thought your rendition felt overall somewhat tentative. Can't put my finger on it, but the song needs more forward impulse somehow. Pleasant, though!

52 wr Cuban Dances #s 3, 11, 12 Joaquin Nin-Culmell -- Solid, no-nonsense approach to these pieces -- lyrical and playful where needed, crisp rhythms, beautiful colors. A treat!

51 wr Mikrokosmos 150 Bela Bartok -- IMO, the best of the submissions to date! Every aspect of this 5/8 piece was seamlessly integrated -- not an easy task. Just -- bravo!

50 wr Haiku Jonathan Harvey -- Take my word for it, there was immense profundity expressed in that 0.5 sec outburst!

Second batch to follow.

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Congratulations everyone on another fabulous recital, I'm really enjoying listening. Thank you Sam for putting these recitals together - it must be a huge amount of work and is much appreciated.
Here are some comments on a few:

01. Sam S - Bagatelle op 1 no 3
What a sensitive, touching piece. I thought you controlled the sound really well, letting the music speak for itself.

02. Sam S - Suburban Sunday
This felt lyrical and nostalgic. Great playing again, I really enjoyed your interpretation.

04. Constantin Stephan - Room with a view (2020)
Great playing as usual, full of wistful emotion.

06. Constantin Stephan - La tete haute et le coeur fier (2015)
An apt title! Full of passionate energy and with an appealingly confident spirit at the end. You created a lot of drama in a short space of time, yet it all made sense and never felt bombastic. Really impressive.

07. Tim Adrianson - Dream Images -- Love-Death (Gemini)
I loved this, great playing. I see what you mean about disconcerting. It reminded me of times when I am dreaming and a feeling of strong dread emerges. I know that I am on the cusp of tumbling into a horrible nightmare, but with great effort I am sometimes able to haul myself out of it back into a nice dream. This piece evoked that struggle for me. The footsteps were great and added even more trepidation to the performance.

12. Saan - Ufie III
This was joyous and energetic, well done! I love drumming too and know what you mean by being drawn to it. The only comment I might add is that at times I lost the syncopated pulse of the left hand during the descending right hand semi-quavers at the start(eg 0:02-0:06, 0:10-0:14), but overall it was really fun to listen to.

14. Greener / Jeff - Firth of Fifth (Variation on the introduction)
Great playing! Those time signatures – aargh. You kept the groove going really well while keeping it expressive. Possibly a touch too much sustain pedal for my taste, but that may be the recording and is a personal choice anyway - it certainly didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the performance.

16. KevinM - Wishing
What a beautiful piece. Your playing captures the mood of the title perfectly. I particularly enjoyed your subtle rubato and dynamics – it was expressive without being sentimental or losing the lovely gentle dance-like quality of the piece.

29. Kepijapa - Feuillet d'album, Op 45
Atmospheric and elegant Scriabin, with atmospheric and elegant playing! Well done.

30. rwsavory - Etude 5
I love Philip Glass, and I can only say I wish it sounded as good as this when I play it.

31. Animisha - The Wind (2010)
It didn’t sound like you had any problem with the tempo at all. You could maybe make your dynamic variations even greater, especially as it is such a short piece, but it is good as it is. Well done!

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Moving along....

12. Saan - Ufie III Very energetic - both the music and the performance. A delight!

13. Saan - Prelude Op. 32 No. 10 Congratulations on getting this far with this piece. I know what you mean about that cadenza - it's strangely intimidating after all the slow chords.

14. Greener / Jeff - Firth of Fifth (Variation on the introduction) Sounds tricky, and you handled it well. Interesting how the piece kind of shifts gears into a different mood at the end.

15. Greener / Jeff - Gethsemane Oh, wow, that takes me back! Never saw the movie, but I remember when the album came out and made a splash. Very nice playing.

16. KevinM - Wishing - Lovely.

17. Tim Adrianson - Four Piano Blues -- #3 (1948); #4 (1926) - Nice atmosphere in # 3. You captured the playfulness of #4 (which reminds me a bit of Stravinsky's spiky ragtime inspired pieces).

18. Tim Adrianson - Two Piano Pieces (1982) -- Midday Thoughts; Proclamation - Excellent job on this late Copland, which is not well known at all.

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Second batch of comments, going from last to first:

49 Animisha Ivan Sings Aram Khachaturian -- I thought that you brought out the rough honesty and sadness of Ivan's lament especially well. Since Ivan is singing, I would adjust the balance slightly -- more right hand, less left,

48 stevedoz Send in the Clowns Stephen Sondheim -- Just a terrific job in every aspect, Steve! I'm assuming the arrangement is Sondheim's own -- he was an elegant musical craftsman in addition to his importance in Musical Theater. Very satisfying throughout.

47 bSharp(C)yclist (Dan) River Flows in You Yiruma -- I thought a solid, secure rendition of this "New Age-y" piece (does anybody use that terminology anymore?). I especially liked the consistency in flow from beginning to end.

46 Mateusz (Mati) Papernik Mirror of Stars Akira Nishimura) -- This for me was one of the highlights of this e-Cital -- there was beautiful pacing and voicing of the mysterious soundscape, punctuated at intervals with an amplified piano. Very George Crumb-like in feel, albeit harmonically more conservative. Thanks for sharing this!

45 KevinM Tales from the Lop Main Theme Philip Glass/Paul Leonard --
straightforward, effective rendition of a Glass piece -- simple; hypnotic. Personally, I find this boring, but I believe this is at least partly Glass's deliberate intention.

44 winterflower The Waltz Fades improvisation -- For me, this improv was tentative at the outset, but then settled into a more confident pattern. Nice tempo and touch throughout.

43 winterflower Dubovna Preludia #3: Andante Semplice Vitezslava Kapralova -- Here I thought you provided an exceptionally attractive melodic line, beautifully shaped. Also, your handling of the rather complex harmonies accompanying the melody was nicely handled.

42 winterflower Drifting Awake improvisation -- I found this improv to be very pleasant. In total, I got the sense of a Native Song, with effective and satisfying choice of tempo, pacing, and line.

41 winterflower Waltz-Serenade Denes Agay -- I thought that in general you elicited the charm of this piece; I would be just a tad stronger in selling that aspect of the piece -- it is a wonderful little miniature.

40 winterflower Vienna Alexandre Tansman -- Speaking of charming miniatures: I too have played a lot of Tansman, and find him to be unfailingly sophisticated in evoking other styles of music using an extended neoClassical harmonic pallette. In that context, I'm not hearing enough of a Viennese evocation in your rendition, although it is otherwise perfectly satisfactory from a musical standpoint. With a lot of Tansman there is a tongue-in-cheek insouciance that needs to be captured.

39 winterflower Meditation Alexandre Tansman -- I find this piece to be somewhat mysterious, in that I don't get a sense of meditation in its movement. In his later years, Tansman wrote more specifically Jewish music, and this may be a reflection of a shift to more serious musical perspectives.

38-37 winterflower The Fascinator James Scott; Searchlight Rag Scott Joplin -- I agree with the observation of another participant that your Rag submissions are the weakest in your considerable portfolio for this e-Cital (and thank you very much for that effort!). As he mentioned, your use of a "swinging lilt" as a part of the rhythmic flow is simply stylistically incorrect for Rag. Also, your presentation is too labored and slow to be taken seriously as interpretive choice. And, yes, Joplin specifically indicated that he wanted "slow", but that is presuming that other features of the Rag style can be presented convincingly; with conviction. These pieces require both a lot of energy and technical precision -- soft Jazz it ain't!

Third batch to follow...

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Some more comments:

32. Rickster - The Magic of Music
This was the first one I listened to this morning and has put me in an inspired mood. Brilliant melody and I loved the lyrics. Your voice has a great tone, really wonderful to listen to.

33. lilypad - Ashokan Farewell
Absolutely beautiful - so much feeling. Your playing sounded well-controlled but free (if that makes sense?) and the piano sounded great.

34. Naroui - Spruce
What an evocative piece! Fantastic playing, I really enjoyed listening to this.

36. kenbakermn - Prelude Op. 23 No. 4, 1903
You filled this with passionate colour. I thought the voicing and phrasing was particularly nicely done. Loved it.

37. winterflower - Searchlight Rag
This was like a lazy cowboy sauntering on a sunny morning. An interesting take.

42. winterflower - Drifting Awake
An interesting improvisation. This felt dreamy and questioning. Well done.

46. Mateusz 'Mati' Papiernik - Mirror of Stars
Great performance. Unrushed and contemplative.

47. bSharp(C)yclist (Dan) - River Flows In You
You brought out the melody line well, and your use of rubato was nice. I thought your control was generally good and the pedalling sounded fine to me. The only small thing for me was that the tone in some of the softer sections sometimes sounded a little harsh/percussive, but that may just be the recording. Well done overall.

48. stevedoz - Send in the clowns
This is a favourite of mine and you played it so beautifully. Sometimes people make this too gushy and romantic, but your sensitive phrasing and lovely tone allowed the wistful longing to just sing out effortlessly. Lump in my throat.

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A few more -

19. Tim Adrianson - Fetes Lointaines (1920) Federico Mompou - Charming music, beautifully done!

20. Sam S - In a Landscape - John Cage
- Brilliant idea, putting photos from your epic journey together with this music. I was mesmerized.

21. Tim Adrianson - Cancion i Danza #9 (1957) Federico Mompou - Nicely done.

22. Tim Adrianson - Musica Callada #23, #25, #28 (1974) Federico Mompou - Mompou created some unusual, almost esoteric, atmospheres in these pieces, which you present very well.

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I've been through several of the performances and yet again am amazed at the wonderful playing. Thank you all.
Here are a few comments to start...

02. Sam S - Suburban Sunday
This is one of those 'close your eyes and imagine' pieces. Wonderfully played. I really want to learn this one some day.

04. Constantin Stephan - Room with a view (2020)
Beautiful control. The tempo is just right in my view. I think this is probably beyond me, but thanks so much for introducing it to me.

10. Tim Adrianson - A Long Remembered Sorrow (1962)
I confess I wouldn't usually listen to this music style but I did find all your performances quite spellbinding, especially this one. To keep up the atmosphere for such a long piece was superb. Thanks so much.

12. Saan - Ufie III
Well, another piece I'd love to play one day. I love the energy you maintained. So well played. Thanks

15. Greener / Jeff - Gethsemane
I've never heard a piano version of this before. The main thing for me was how you managed to make the tune sing, which doesn't sound easy given the nature of the piece. Really loved it.


Thanks so much also for those who have commented on my piece. I still find submitting to the recitals very daunting, so I'm very grateful to you.


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Starting on Tim's excellent contributions. Tim is our resident expert on modern piano music!

07. Tim Adrianson - Dream Images -- Love-Death (Gemini) Now that was unique! It was over before I got a good idea of what was going on, so I had to listen again. A bit like a nightmare, actually.

09. Tim Adrianson - Impressions of the Thames (1920) Dissonant and harsh - check that box off! It's so hard to make sense of it without any recognizable melody, theme, or harmony - at least none that I could recognize.

10. Tim Adrianson - A Long Remembered Sorrow (1962) This one is much more approachable - there were some very striking spots. I can't imagine playing it though - and at the amateur Cliburn - that must have been quite the experience.

11. Tim Adrianson - Sonata #8, Mv2 -- A Trip to the Attic (1990) Now this one was great! I can hear the humor and the regret over a long-lost childhood. Very effective - and well played!

17. Tim Adrianson - Four Piano Blues -- #3 (1948); #4 (1926) These are great. But I do think they suffer from trying to put a "high class" spin on something that is best in the original form. But great playing!

18. Tim Adrianson - Two Piano Pieces (1982) -- Midday Thoughts; Proclamation I really liked Midday Thoughts - that's the Copeland that I love. Great!

19. Tim Adrianson - Fetes Lointaines (1920) This was very joyous at times - I guess like a Fete. Lots of contrasts too - well done!

21. Tim Adrianson - Cancion i Danza #9 (1957) OK, he stole that melody and harmony from "Oh Shenendoah" right? Maybe unconsciously? The similarities are just too striking. I guess just the Canzone, since the Danza is different. Excellent playing!

22. Tim Adrianson - Musica Callada #23, #25, #28 (1974) These are much more mysterious. Well done!

More to come!

Sam


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Originally Posted by Sam S
32. Rickster - The Magic of Music Love your singing Rick! This is a different style for you, but I like it. The words are great too - did you write those? Now if you could just sell this to some recording start - it could be made into any style really..

Thanks, Sam! Yes, I did write the lyrics to this song, and the music just flowed along with the lyrics. I like it too! Not sure it has any monetary value, but I sure had a great time writing, performing and recording it! smile


Originally Posted by Pianist685
32 Rickster – The Magic of Music Fantastic! This could be a song from the TV series “Fame”, there were several similar songs on the show.

Thanks, Pianist685! I hope you could understand all the words/lyrics. I wrote, composed and recorded this around 2009 or so, and was using an older technology camcorder with "firewire" software.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 15,134
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Posts: 15,134
Originally Posted by QuentinP
32. Rickster - The Magic of Music
This was the first one I listened to this morning and has put me in an inspired mood. Brilliant melody and I loved the lyrics. Your voice has a great tone, really wonderful to listen to.

Thanks, QuentinP! I'm in the process of listening to all the great submissions to the 21st Century Recital myself, and will have comments later.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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