Tag Archives: music

Bach and forth… music on a mobius strip

19 Mar

http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/the_genius_of_js_bachs_crab_canon_visualized_on_a_mobius_strip.html
 

The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip

February 11th, 2013

 

The most impressive of Johann Sebastian Bach’s pieces, musicophiles may have told you, will knock you over with their ingeniousness, or at least their sheer complexity. Indeed, the music of Bach has, over the past two and a half centuries, provided meat and drink to both professional and amateur students of the relationship between ingeniousness and complexity. It’s no mistake, for instance, that the composer has offered such a rich source of intellectual inspiration to Gödel, Escher, Bach author Douglas R. Hofstadter, well beyond having given him a word to fill out the book’s title. Listen to the first canon from Bach’s Musical Offering, and you’ll hear what sounds like a simple beginning develop into what sounds like quite a complex middle. You may hear it and instinctively understand what’s going on; you may hear it and have no idea what’s going on beyond your suspicion that something is happening.

If you process things more visually than you do aurally, pay attention to the video above, a visualization of the piece by mathematical image-maker Jos Leys. You can follow the score, note for note, and then watch as the piece reverses itself, running back across the staff in the other direction. So far, so easy, but another layer appears: Bach wrote the piece to then be played simultaneously backwards as well as forwards. But prepare yourself for the mind-blowing coup de grâce when Leys shows us at a stroke just what the impossible shape of the Möbius strip has to do with the form of this “crab canon,” meaning a canon made of two complementary, reversed musical lines. Hofstadter had a great deal of fun with that term in Gödel, Escher, Bach, but then, he has one of those brains — you’ll notice many Bach enthusiasts do — that explodes with connections, transpositions, and permutations, even in its unaltered state. Alternatively, if you consider yourself a consciousness-bending psychonaut, feel free get into your preferred frame of mind, watch Bach’s crab canon visualized, and call me in the morning.

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Nobuyuki Tsujii – blind pianist winning the Van Cliburn in 2009

27 Feb

Nobuyuki Tsujii is 24 years old.

In 2009 (at the age of 20) he won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with this performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody.

 

 

 

And he has been blind since birth. He learns by ear.

 

 

Here are some of the accolades bestowed upon him:

 

Van Cliburn himself said:
“He was absolutely miraculous. His performance had the power of a healing service. It was truly divine”
2009 Van Cliburn Competition Juror Richard Dyer, a chief music critic for The Boston Globe:
“Very seldom do I close my notebook and just give myself over to it, and he made that necessary. I didn’t want to be interrupted in what I was hearing.”
Scott Cantrell in his review of the 2009 Van Cliburn competition for The Dallas Morning News wrote:
“It’s almost beyond imagining that he has learned scores as formidable as Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata by ear…Through all three rounds, he played with unfailing assurance, and his unforced, utterly natural Chopin E-Minor Piano Concerto was an oasis of loveliness.”
John Giordano, music director and conductor of Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra who was jury chairman for the Cliburn competition:
“He’s amazing. We closed our eyes and it’s so phenomenal that it’s hard to withhold your tears. Nobu played the most difficult hour-long Beethoven piece (Hammerklavier, Sonata no. 29) flawlessly. For anyone, it’s extraordinary. But for someone blind who learns by ear, it’s mind-boggling.

 

And he does all of this without any visual reference.

 

 

Also from the ’09 Van Cliburn

 

Chopin Twelve Etudes, Op.10

 

Beethoven Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 106, “Hammerklavier”

 

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