From the Library: Classical Piano Focus

Today we’re fea­tur­ing clas­si­cal piano music, from inti­mate solo works to grand piano con­cer­ti.

The piano is an extra­or­di­nary instru­ment, and reput­ed­ly one of the most dif­fi­cult to record accu­rate­ly, not least because of its immense dynam­ic range. Indeed, its full name, pianoforte, comes from the Ital­ian musi­cal terms for “soft” (piano) and “loud” (forte). Unlike its pre­de­ces­sors among the key­board instru­ments –such as the harp­si­chord, which plucks the strings – the piano is in fact a per­cus­sion instru­ment, with ham­mers strik­ing the strings, and this is the source of that expres­sive­ness. The direct antecedent of the pianoforte was a rather sim­i­lar instru­ment, the fortepi­ano, which oper­at­ed on a sim­i­lar prin­ci­ple, but was less expres­sive.

Over the course of the 19th cen­tu­ry the piano devel­oped in com­plex­i­ty, sophis­ti­ca­tion and pow­er, adding fea­tures like the sus­tain ped­al and mul­ti­ple par­al­lel strings per note, to allow the sound lev­el of the instru­ment to increase dra­mat­i­cal­ly. As a result it became able to stand out against the back­drop of an entire orches­tra – lead­ing to the birth of the piano con­cer­to. In addi­tion to tech­nol­o­gy, the play­ing tech­nique added fea­tures that enabled the instru­ment to com­pete more effec­tive­ly on the orches­tral stage, for exam­ple rapid­ly-dou­bled notes mak­ing the part sound loud­er.

Today, the piano is one of the most ver­sa­tile and expres­sive instru­ments in the world of music, and today we’ll be play­ing some of the range of clas­si­cal pieces com­posed for the instru­ment, both well known and sel­dom heard. Enjoy!

Don’t for­get that you can still spon­sor an hour of Radio Riel pro­gram­ming in the Radio Riel Day for Life. Choose the music that we play all day on Sun­day July 11 — all pro­ceeds to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety’s Relay for Life! Click here for details.

From the Library is pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now in-world at http://music.radioriel.org, or click one of the but­tons below. Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Soliel Snook.

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For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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