From the Library: Classical Piano Focus

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Tuesday, 6 July, 2010

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, 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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