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November 21, 2007

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jen

Hello! I am not a musician but I appreciate and love your playing style. When I want to hear classical music I most frequently end up pulling one of your CDs off of my shelf. Keep up the good work!

A question has been bothering me since fall. Your post about picking a new Steinway is marginally related:

My son did a History Fair report on Simon Stevin, the person credited with introducing Equal Temperament to Europe in the 1580's. Most scholars today seem to agree that Stevin adapted (the nice way of putting it) the theory of Wu Zaiyu a Chinese prince/scholar. Simon Stevin (via Wu Zaiyu) found the solution to that age-old problem of the Pythagorean Comma... After that, things heated up between the Natural Tuners and the proponents of Equal Temperament. Finally, Bach wrote the "Well Tempered Clavier" in order to convince composers to write and musicians to tune their instruments in the Equally Tempered way rather than Natural Tuning. From the research we did it seems that Bach won and according to one writer, all modern music uses Equal Temperament as its basis. It seems that although numerically equally tempered tuning may be easier on musicians and composers, Equal Temperament is actually less pleasing to the ear because of the small sharps and flats.

OK. So my questions are: What do you think about it? Have you played a Naturally Tuned piano? If so, how did it sound?

Jen in NYC

Phoebe

Hello Mr. Pratt,

I was interested to read your blog 1) because I like your playing and 2) because I am interested in Robert Weirich, one of your former teachers. I'm currently a piano student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and your comments about the value of a good piano made me post! We only have one Steinway, a new D model, and it is excellent. I learn so much from that piano when I have the opportunity to play on it. Congrats on your new studio instrument.

I may try to catch your performance in Albuquerque in March!

Phoebe in Las Cruces

Marcela

Hello Awadagin,

I found this website after listening to your cd, that I had to have after listening to the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, on king FM, in Seattle. I studied piano at the Brazilian conservatory and I have never laid my hands on a grand piano before I came to live in the US. My husband and I are engineers but when he got a job in the US, I decided to apply to the music performance program at the University of Puget Sound. When we had juries, we could play in a Steinway B-model. The first time I played the last movement of my Beethoven sonata op.22 in that piano, the second F didn't sound quite the same as the first one, because I attacked the key differently. I was so amazed to hear that! I started to experiment as I played for juries and I got very nice compliments on the sound I was able to produce (I am sure 99% was due that incridible Steinway). Although I will never be a professional (or a good) pianist, I will be forever grateful that I once was able to play in that wonderful Steinway.

I am really enjoying your cd. The only recording of the Brahms variations on a theme by Handel I've heard was by Arnaldo Cohen. I am starting to listen to yours and it's very fresh and new to me. It was really great to come accross your cd and this blog. I wish you could come to play in Seattle sometime.

congrats on your cd, I'm loving it!
Marcela

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EVENTS

  • Brahms 1 in Winston-Salem
    This week brings a return to one of my favorite homes away from home. I've played with this orchestra a number of times, and conducted them once. Last year I played my first Rhapsody in Blue with them, and now return for what is pretty much my favorite concerto, the titanic, volcanic Brahms 1st Piano Concerto. This piece demands the greatest level of physical, psychological, emotional resources, and stamina of any concerto. Yeah......
  • Beethoven 5th Concerto
    For the last several years, this university has hosted the Next Generation Festival, of which I'm the artistic director. They not only are renovating their music building, but have just made a purchase of a very lovely hall in Lancaster, former home of the Pennsylvania Academy of Music. I'm looking forward to seeing and playing in this space.
  • Beethoven 4th Piano Concerto
    Haven't been back in over 15 yrs. Should be nice. I did my first Beethoven 1 there, now my umpteenth Beethoven 4. I've heard they've come a long way since then..... So have I!