This content is from Cori's December 2022 Newsletter. If you would like to receive her newsletters in your inbox, click to subscribe here.
Twelve days left until the new year, twelve musical gifts for your enjoyment!
This is my second newsletter of 2022 - I apologize for being absent for so long! I have packed this newsletter full of musical gifts that I hope you will enjoy as much as I have! My year has been full on the home front. As our girls get older, their activities require more time away which, for now, translates to more time on the road driving them places! I am loving every minute of it, but it does pull me away from the piano more than in past years. With everyone home on winter break and the resulting "pause" in our daily routine, I am taking some time to play catch up. The snow falling today makes a perfect backdrop for reflection on the past year and inspiration for the year to come!
1. Let's Get Together...ya, ya, ya
Much of art is worked out in isolation. Handcrafting a shoe, manipulating glass or metal or clay, practicing a musical passage...all require a level of focus and self-discipline, accomplished at least some of the time by oneself. An artist spends a vast quantity of time learning and practicing and honing his art. Someone said that to become an expert at something requires 10,000 hours. One would think, then, that coming out of full and partial isolation imposed by pandemic policies would result in a huge amount of artistic output. Are you seeing this? This has not been my own personal experience!
Community is essential. The joint effort of collaborating in person serves to feed and inspire me between solitary practice sessions. As a natural introvert, I don't feel the "need" for community as often as my extroverted friends; however, we are not meant to live in isolation. There is a reason we send criminals to solitary confinement and stubborn toddlers to time-out. Isolation without regular intervals of community engagement is confinement. Much of what it means to be human is experienced when we are together. So I ask myself, and you...what effort are you making to be in community with others? How might the artist within you awaken when you let him out of isolation?
This video came across one of my social media feeds, and I found it fascinating. I have heard that handmade shoes are the most comfortable shoes you can wear. The amount of time, skill, and attention to detail in making a shoe is analogous to preparing a musical piece for performance. Whereas our audiences don't "wear" our music, they do walk in it for a time, and the care with which we have prepared it affects their overall enjoyment and can contribute to their quality of life.
2. Silent Night
Sometimes in very difficult times, when words or actions fail to help, music comes close to us like a friend. The beauty of melody and lyric can open up our hearts like the sun opens up the flowers.
Keith and Kristyn Getty reflect on the story behind "Silent Night," which began in the 1800s. If you scroll to the bottom of the article, you can hear their daughter Grace singing the melody.
3. Another Silent Night
4. Let Them Sing!
Two of my girls had the opportunity to participate in the Northwest Association of Classical Christian Schools choral festival this year. It is a fabulous one-day festival where junior high and high school students from around the Pacific Northwest come together to learn and fellowship and sing! I wrote about it here.
5. Gabriela Montero
Wow, this pianist is amazing! She improvises on the spot - as pianists were required to do in the days of Bach and Mozart. The host of this interview reminds me of James Corden, who runs the Carpool Karaoke series...except this interview is in the classical realm!
6. BACH to Thankfulness
Why study the music of the Western canon? This article considers the question and proposes an answer.
7. More BACH
The author of the above article, Jarrod Richey, presents his choir, made up of average students, singing the polyphony of a Bach fugue. You will have to click on the link in the article to hear the result!
8. Johannes Moser, cellist
I love learning about other musicians' lives and how they deal with performance anxiety, practicing, and other challenges. Cellist Johannes Moser speaks here of these things, including his work with a sports psychologist.
9. Lief Ove Andsnes, pianist
Another installment from Living the Classical Life, this time featuring pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.
10. & 11. Susan Tomes
Pianist and author Susan Tomes always has wonderful nuggets of insight pertaining to the life of a musician. Here are two of her musings, one on the "mismatch between all the work that goes into preparing for a single concert, and the concert itself which flashes by in a couple of hours," and the other on the peculiar way we determine which tempo is the "right" one.
12. Another Gem from Gabriela Montero
I love the audience interaction in this formal classical music setting. Why is it that classical audiences outside the United States seem so much more engaged and invested in this style of music? Do we, as a country, seek to "progress" to our own destruction? Can we look to, and treasure, our past while seeking new ways to create and innovate in the present?
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Here's to more music-making in 2023!