dinsdag 13 mei 2014

212-Manhattan Island Serenade/Oude Maasweg kwart voor drie

Again a song I haven't played in years and years. And, of course, first take, no cuts. Meaning: the usual 2 or 3 real mistakes and no optimal vocals, mostly working on the keys ;-) My advice is to stop at 4:10, after that I just delve into the chords and try out some stuff , with some horrible misgrips and loosing all music that was before from time to time. Unless of course you are interested in the exploration, that is ;-)
Some of it I very much like though! And will delve into it deeper. Correction: have been digging with it for some more time already, sweeeet, love doing that and discovering new places...it's in my head now and won't leave until I spent quite a lotta more time with it...


200-Etude pour la main droite

Just 3 days after I broke my wrist...  Pain has subsided just about enough (with max dose painkillers that is :-( ) to think about playing the piano again.  And of course more than slightly worried, though not overly so as it's not broken in a very dramatic way; just clean broken, no complications.  So let's see for now what I can do with just one hand...
   Takes some time to realise there's no left hand: I start out just playing right hand, from time to time missing left.  Then I switch modes, and discover some new possibilities for right hand...

woensdag 6 juni 2012

Sweet Child In Transit

Last night Venus transitted the Sun.  Meaning: Sun, Venus and Earth were aligned for about 6 hours.  Not only that, Moon was full the day before yesterday, and partly eclipsed. So, also just about as aligned with the rest as it ever can be.   Besides all that, if you draw a line to the stars through that alignement you get to the Pleiades.  Oh, and Saturn isn't that far off that line either, even Mars is more or less in that lineup...  Enough reason for astrologers to claim massive energy-effects and anything from the end of the World to earthquakes to love blooming to whatever you can think of.

For an astronomer it means nothing more than a very interesting and special occasion, enabling accurate measurement of the Solar System in the 18'th ccentury for the first time ever.  Concerning the Pleiades: well, there's always SOME asterism that is in line with something, so what that means I leave to your imagination.  As far as any real measurable effect of the whole alignement is concerned let me suffice with mentioning that the only real energetic consequence would be a slight chance in gravity.  About as strong -no, much weaker than- the attraction between an apple on your desk and you.

Nonetheless a huge outpouring of energy was apparent this morning when someone in a small group where I was started singing a few bars of 'Child in Time' (Deep Purple).  Within seconds it turned into a room full of feral cats screaming their lungs out.  Very impressive.  That, plus a lot of remarks on Facebook about people going crazy, does make you wonder somewhat....

I just felt, when I got home, like playing the song I hadn't played for years.  So here it is, first take, no edits.  As usual.  I refrained (somewhat) from exploring the ultra-high vocal registers I managed (or not) in that early morning group-rendition, and later belting on my bicycle searching for a good key.   However, the piano I did not treat as kindly as I did my voice.  And considering the vocals here you can only feel sorry for my big wooden friend.
Note I managed to dislodge a few strings.  Ah, it's due for tuning by now anyway.... 

zaterdag 2 juni 2012

Sweet And Gentle

Just a simple tonal slowtake today.  Very clear idea to start off with though: Downward sequense I-IV-II-V-III-VI etc. etc.   Confusing the subdominant to tonic to switch into tonic=dominant to erm, well, it tends to confuse the brain into making the real center a pointer towards the not-center, or something like that.  In other words, a bit the other way around -so to say- from usual harmonic structure, though still very conventional.  Got the outline riding my bike the day before, as an interesting entrance to fields un-explored.
Picture by Yours Truly.

I had some idea about how to fulfill that astranging effect into an interesting conclusion, but it didn't take too long before I lost the outline and let the music take its own direction.  Every once a while the outline got me back in gear when it was about to drift into nonsens.  Eventually I got into the field I was looking for and could not have imagined without the realisation of those imagined soundscapes,  evoking a bit of vocalisation as well.  So, nuff said, enjoy.

dinsdag 29 mei 2012

What Elephant ?

'ts been a while, have barely played past two weeks. You may notice there's a #181 missing; that I did record last week, bu I'm still processing that recording, as I hadn't got around to posting it, mostly because it's really two recordings and I had a hard time deciding.  So do tune in later today for it, and to find out how I solved the dilemma.

Back to roots, this one is recorded at seven in the morning, as dictated by my original premise: unedited, from first note on until ran out off notes.  The basic theme had been running through my head for a few days now, so I just played it at once.  And then found out the trouble I got myself into ;-)

Not playing for a while sure stiffs up the old fingers, but I hope there's no real bother by it in today's elaboration of a short melodic phrase from Saint Saens' 'Carnaval des animaux'. On of the classical pieces my Father used to play for me when I was a kid. Being a baby this would be played on a taperecorder next to my cradle in a noisy room and I'd go to sleep like, er, well, like a baby!

PS: Still looking for a nice picture to this episode, any suggestions?  There's also a little anecdote to go with this recording, but I'll tend to the otherr episode first, so do cast your eye on this one later on too.

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Sun At Last!

Willow with wild plants on it; picture by me this morning
This bright spell started yesterday evening, wich gave me a great chance to see Saturn and Venus through the telscope, ever so clear and sharp. Soooo beautiful, If I had pictures of that I'd put 'm here and name this one 'Venus & Saturn' instead...

And to share it with a Facebook Friend who came to stay over for two days, and got me out to take an amazing amount of great pictures all over town.  She'd never seen a Planet through a telescope before, and was awed...  Like I am awed by the way this willow caught some earth and a seed and grew these beautiful flowers up there.....
PS you'll hear her kind remark after I ran out of notes...

maandag 14 mei 2012

Mozart's Mower, Bird AndViro-Mental Piano!

A duet with the environment again.  Has been a while since I done that.  Always surprising.  At first I figured: 'ah, too much noise from the mower outside, I'll record later'.  Now it's later and they're still mowing, so I'm glad I decided: if you can't beat'm join'm.

Besides, here we're bak to my original premise; record at seven in the morning, any wich way.  I opened the window to let in the mowing-machine - and why bother switching of the TV with Mozart's Zauberflöte -...  Kept the remote handy though.

In the last minutes a bird decided to get in on the fun.  At first I didn't really notice it at all, I think it was perfectly in tune and adding to the music before it attracted my attention.  It has not let me down for the rest of my play.

And we end this one the way we began it, Mozart's Mower and the bird.

PS I still need a great picture for this one (and the last one too!) ; Anyone?

woensdag 9 mei 2012

Sturm und Drang

The creative process can be quite disconcerting and confusing from time to time.  This process, from blinding, paralizing inspiration to fruit was my premise for todays improv.   This and the approach of the piano as a percussion instrument, rather than the harmonic/melodic approach I usually embody.

Working title was 'Stepping Stones', and I suppose that shines through quite obviously.  As it was done, and I contemplated what I had played minutes later on my bike-ride, the present title presented itself as more appropriate.

It takes a considerable while of seemingly meaningless chaotic dissonant percussive rythmic elaboration before the planted seeds sprout into some of the more familiar harmonic and agreeable elements emerging into a final realisation of relaxation and fulfillment.  (did I seriously just type those words in ernest?  It looks like jibberjabber from a comedy on make-beief artistic folks...  but seriously, if you listen you'll find it makes real sense after all... Sometimes as Dad sez truth is stranger than fiction; and may I add: more banal..)

PS if you have a illustration to suggest for this, please don't hesitate to fill me in/send it?...

zaterdag 28 april 2012


An exploration of the first few bars of Mahler's 1st symphony, Titan.  On the score this first movement has the instruction:
 'Langsam schleppend, wie ein Naturlaut'.
Pictures by Yours Truly.

 Hence the title.  

Dad used to play this when I was a little kid to wake me up whenever I was at his place, if you play it: Chicago Symphony Orchestra you'll understand that was a great way to wake up.

I did not linger to much on the rest of that symphony here, just let go to explore where that short progression and mood would take me. Nowhere, eventually, but that's after a lot of very nice everywhere.  Still hard to anticipate the moment where I run out of notes, and I guess today I was slightly late; so I just let be there and closed to an open end. 

I'm quite sure this mornings play would not be a bad alarmclock either.

Saly's verjaardag Pt1. Being Green

Happy birthday Saly!

These are the two songs I had planned to play on your birthday-party last Sunday, but in all the turmoil of the huge party there was no time and/or chance to squeeze it in, so I did it now, today, the actual day of your 75th birthday.
'God's song', by Randy Newman, and 'Being Green', by Kermit the Frog.
Somehow I found these two songs to be appropriate.  Those who know Saly as I do would probably agree.

For you listeners who do not have a clue what I'm on about, Saly is my 'evil stepdad', ever since age 13.  And I love the Man, he rocks and is way cool, has taught me way more than I dare ever admit. 

 How lucky I am, to have two evil stepdads ánd my beautiful biodad,  all still around...

PS. The recording of God's Song I found subpar on second listen; the advantage of the trouble with posting this a few days ago when it was made.  So I'm still planning a  new recording of that.  To be continued!

dinsdag 10 april 2012

Intricate Stillness

By Robyn van Horn
Soft and sweet.  Very intricate braided voices that mostly just took my fingers wherever they needed to be; not much control really.  That was a good thing, because I could never control such mazes consciously...

Totally lost control -or maybe I should say tried to take control- and lost my way after about 7 minutes.  So I just shut up, let stillness return and did the equivalent of sewing a closing seam to an unfinished blanket to make it whole.

zaterdag 7 april 2012

Baby Upright My Baby

Retuning Mom' s piano yesterday, the piano I played most of my life until I moved out on my own.  Very different to my own piano, the one you usually hear here.  Tiniest baby-upright, ever such a light touch.  Very responsive to subtle and fast movements, and biiig sound.

Just like meeting an old friend again, or an old lover.  Forgot myself for some time there, over 20 minutes instead of the usual 5-10.  And really, the only reason to stop playing was Mom came home again from her shopping spree... 

Thought I'd leave that bit in, some couleur locale...
Just like this.  But with my DNA and all my fave pianists' on it of course.

Will have to do something about the creaking pedals though, soon; plus the worn hammers at the highest register, deep grooves therein; but... those grooves smehow stick a bit to the strings when played really softly, making a delightfull ringing overtone-rich clavichord- / bell-like sound.  Top is a bit detuned too, but I left it as such, as my tuning hammer has such bad fit I' d damage the tuningpins if I' d get to work on that, so I left that for later when I bring the right hammer, and used it as an excuse to let rip for the time I had.

Enjoy!   I'm sure I did.

maandag 2 april 2012

Chaos Butterfly

Standing on the shoulder of giants, From chaos to harmony and ordered body of knowledge.
Forest Fire Model
Plus a butterfly in Tokyo that causes a storm in Amsterdam; a definition or illustration of chaos-theory.  Two opposing sides of the same coin.

Dare I toot my own horn besides the piano to say this is one of the rare episodes that has my 100% seal of approval? I have not played it back yet, but whilst playing this it was one uninterrupted stream of unconscious consciousness, and satisfaction with almost everything my fingers did.

donderdag 29 maart 2012


Old friends, old friends sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blowin' through the grass
...  ...
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
...  ...
Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy
Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

lyric and melodic excerpts from 'old Friends/Bookends' by Simon & Garfunkel

woensdag 28 maart 2012

The Year of the Cat

A total break with tradition here; guitar and vocals, no piano. Not really impro either, but true to the original premise: first take, no cuts.   Song I haven't played in over ten years.
First few lines may be a bit confused, finding a string not as much in tune as I want it to, and if there's one thing I can't stand... So it had to be retuned as I went on.   Also the bridge got me somewhat mixed up, but never mind the excuses.

It's gotta be the weirdest and most original version I ever did of this.  Just like a cat would, I guess.

And remind me again of the fact that one microphone is not sufficient for a good balanced mix.  And see if I care.  ;-)  (actually I do, but never mind just the same)

Illustrations: Cat's Eye Nebula, from Wikipedia

vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Adagio del Primavera

Another winter survived... Living in The Netherlands is a constant rollercoaster of ever changing weather.  The idea that there is places in the World where the daily news on TV and radio does not contain an extensive section on the weather-prediction is totally alien and uncomprehensible to a Dutch boy.

Seasons is one thing, Dutch weather a totally different matter.  Anyway.  The average of daily temparature and friendlyness of the atmosphere is climbing back to agreeable now.   Past few days were marvelous, all the trees are springing, birds are tweeting their little hearts out way before Sunrise and most of the flowers that sprout from bulbs (such as tulips and all their family; daffodils, krokussen (don't know that in English) have all shown their faces by now.  And tonight the clock will swallow an hour.

So.... time for contemplation and melancholic joy.

Pictures by yours Truly.  This is 'hondsdraf' in Dutch, abundant in the grass and all over road-sides
Today's play has a touch familiarity; either I ripped it of something I forgot, or it' s just something I have more or less played before.  Probably the second, though I am not really sure.  If you have an idea where these melodic stanza' s are partly from please let me know, use the 'reactions'  button...

Safe from a few misgrips close to conclusion most of this is the way I intended, but I sure lost my way for a few bars there...  Just like spring usually goes here, so I suppose it' s appropriate.  And today I joined the birds with some vocal additions as well.

PS. Alas, now that i have monitored the recording I find ot the vocals are barely audible...  Yet again reason to get at rearrangng my recording-setup.   Sorry!   There's just so much one microphone can pick up, especially when afterwards the music gets compressed to mp3, wich takes out all that is 'not audible'.  On the original recording the voice is much more present.  I'll see if I can improve it a bit, but.. no promises...

woensdag 21 maart 2012

Almost Cut My Hair

Yours truly, this morning.
Almost, but not quite.  From the epic album 'Deja Vu' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  a rock band with a name like a lawyer firm.  First in a whole line of such named bands.  Up to then bands had names like Mushy Marshmallow Rainbow and the likes,  Tthese were the greatest minds and voices of such bands former glory.

Almost cut their hair.  almost, but not quite.  Not even close.  That's when the freakflag truly started its flight.

I really have to do something about my recording setup; just one microphone has in a way a nice direct sound that I like, but stereo and an extra vocal mic would be preferable.  That and less noise, let alone distortion, wich, I'm  afraid, has crept in here once more...
Pictures by me, being me, this morning.

dinsdag 20 maart 2012

Spherical Harmonics

Totally different approach of the instrument today. No sense explaining, just press play and sit back. Or stare at the picture.
Pictures by Robyn van Horn

PS Nothing wrong with your speakers, the recording is slightly distorted.

vrijdag 16 maart 2012

Minimal Lavender Fields Amongst Concrete

Hate it when this happens; the recorder gave me quite a scare when I finished todays recording.  It was not running.   But I was pretty sure I got the aquired habit of checking it for running when I start down all right.

Slight reassurance of this told me it had recorded, but I ran out of virtual tape....   So: compositional balance is slightly lost in this recording.  Even though all that is lost is the slow and easy petering out of what I played, back into reaquired silence, it might leave you slightly out of equilibrium.

  So just imagine another minute or so of re-affirming and settling of whatever notes were left when it fades out where an abrupt ending was.

donderdag 15 maart 2012

Hurried Rhapsody

Although I had about 10 minutes left to make my recording this morning before I had to go about my daily chores - and most of my plays take less than that - I did feel somewhat in a hurry to get the music down.  So much to say and play, in what felt like so little time.  

In about 7 minutes I felt like I did manage to get it all in.  Then I hit some keys and found whole new fields of exploration, and frankly those opened up probably way more than some extra minutes of new music.   But; no more time.   So, as fragmented as the first minutes were, these became split-up seconds of opening doors and closing them again, straight away.

So I do hope you can enjoy this rhapsody of cosmic possibilities unexplored...