Sunday, September 17, 2006

Great music book: shame about the binding

How often do you find that the music books you buy will not lie flat on your piano’s music desk? I know some pianos are poorly made, but I’m talking about pianos with generous-sized music desks, such as the Yamaha in the studio at the conservatorium where I teach, and the Tokai grand piano in our lounge room.

I recently ordered a copy of Warner Bros Music’s “Ultimate Jazz Showstoppers,” which is a terrific book with great musical arrangements [mostly original versions] and a good selection of genuinely popular jazz pieces, but … it won’t lie flat and open easily on the pianos I use, and can’t even be used from a conventional music stand.

How dumb is that?

And all of this could have been solved by binding it with a spiral!

I wonder if the people who make the books play musical instruments?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bargain-priced, first-class Handel overview

This is a great CD for newcomers to Handel, but also for those who already have a few Handel CDs. So often samplers have all the favourites which you already have on other CDs. But this set has a few well-known tracks, such as Zadok the Priest, See the Conqu'ring Hero Comes and La Rejouissance from The Fireworks, but mostly wonderful music, superbly played which is not extremely well known.

Highly recommended.

Delightful Mozart, sensitively performed

I love this CD of the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto and the Clarinet Concerto, and am pleased that it is still available, though now under another label. The 2 works combine to make a great program.

In Australia, the clarinet concerto was voted the one piece of classical music people could not live without. However, I did for a while, because about 15 years ago, when I arrived home in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, from a trip to Sydney, I discovered that the shop assistant had not put the CD in the jewel case!

The flute and harp concerto is equally delightful.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All that old music that's falling apart

Just got a great gift for Father's Day from my wife. It is a comb-binding machine. It doesn't bind combs, but punches holes in sheets of paper and assembles them with plastic combs down the side of the sheets.

So now I am separating pages of books I've had for 30 years or more, cutting off the glue strip on the side with my paper trimmer, punching holes in the sheets and then binding them back together again.

It is a bit laborious, but it works and I now have several books usable again.

A friend rips apart brand new books that won't stay open on the piano and runs them trough a binding machine, but I think I would wait a while before I pulled any new books apart!