Saturday, September 19, 2009

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum... It may be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but piracy is serious music business. And a long standing tradition. Little Wolfie Mozart used his ear and his amazing memory to copy music from a performance that was never to be copied. Bootleg recordings of performances abound -- opera, classical concerts, rock... And then there's the sharing of recordings via the internet -- of which the RIAA takes a very dim view via their lawsuits. However widespread the phenomenon of piracy, the composers and artists are entitled to the fruits of their musical labors. And there's the rub for intellectual property.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paul Taffanel

Happy birthday, Paul Taffanel! Taffanel is generally considered to be the father of the modern French flute school, which became the dominant style of playing in Western Europe and the U.S. through the mid-20th century. He was born on September 16, 1844, in Bordeaux, France. His father was a music teacher. By the age of 10, Paul was playing flute in local concerts, and at 12, he was accepted as a student byLouis Dorun, who he followed to the Paris Conservatoire in 1860. Taffanel had a fabulous career as a flute soloist and orchestral player, as a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire from 1893 on, and as a conductor. He also composed and arranged music. He died in Paris in 1908.

Taffanel's playing style was particularly noted for the pure tone with limited vibrato. We flute players are indebted to Paul Taffanel, and many of us can trace our heritage -- our teacher's teachers -- back to Taffanel.

If you're interested in learning more, there's a book, Taffanel: Genius of the Flute, by Edward Blakeman (published by Oxford University Press, 2005). You can find it at the Polley Music Library.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September is National Piano Month

Not only is September National Piano Month, but it is also Library Card Sign-Up Month. To celebrate both, I'd like to suggest that you explore the music database, Classical Music Library. It, along with Smithsonian Global Sounds and African American Song provide a wealth of music to listen to, as well as information about that music. The links are on the Polley Music Library home page. To access these databases from outside the library, you'll need your Lincoln City Libraries' card.

Another possibility for using your library card for National Piano Month would be to check out some of the music in the Polley Music Library. Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and many other composers await in our section of piano scores. We also have lots of "easy piano" music to play. How about checking out a book about a pianist or the history of the piano? If we don't have what you need, you can use your library card to borrow scores on inter-library loan.

Happy National Piano Month! Happy Library Card Sigh-Up Month!