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CLASSICAL PIANO/REPERTOIRE: Recordings
THOUGHTS OF A CLASSICAL PIANIST: My Classical Piano Blog
Sunday, December 09, 2018
We're about done with our Christmas decor. We sort of live in a remote area away from the city or neighborhoods, but it's usually worth the drive to pass by a decked out property.
We should all create or compile our own Youtube rewind (an obviously stay-the-hell-away from type of video) - since every year, the most intriguing videos are never on it. As they say, to each their own.
All of a sudden, Sung Kang has updated his social media with what he's been up to. Recently, he's been doing an interesting "What I See When I Run" theme. Glad to hear that he's up and about - it's been awhile since he's updated - ever since them obscure Alexa pics. For sure, he's no longer on "The Party Boat" muhaha.
Flex Tape 3: Flex World - this has gotta be a full-fledged movie heheh.
Thursday, December 06, 2018
It's been awhile since I enjoyed some donuts. Had some while waiting for the oil change on our car at a nearby store (wish there were more local donut shops around). Once in awhile, treat yourself to some goodies or desserts heheh.
It is the month to be jolly or to be in the spirit of the Christmas season, and I don't want to spoil the mood because of my temperament. But I already have unfortunately. Well, try not to for the rest of the month.
I'm about done or finished with my Studio Ghibli and Mendelssohn recordings or collection. There might be one or two more pieces. Next year, I have to seriously consider adding more Beethoven.
Monday, December 03, 2018
Let's face it. Nobody can replace Rod Serling, or can't even come close in replicating that iconic voice or having that presence. I always have qualms about remakes and reboots (who should you call? The Reboot-Busters led by Ricky Berwick heheh). "The Twilight Zone" update in the '80's was fine, but the other updates or reboots have been bland and unsuspenseful. I'm gonna take a wait-and-see approach, but I'm glad that John Cho is going to be appearing in an episode. That's most likely a must-see. I still enjoy the hour-long fourth season of the classic series, which is underrated for sure.
I think "The Outer Limits" in the '90's had the most diverse range of stories, and diverse guest stars (Pat Morita, etc). However, the debate between "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits" is probably on-going.
To me, the most important thing is understanding and feeling the music or melody - not how easy or difficult a piece is. If it's easy but as long as it's beautiful, it shouldn't matter. You could always add variations or compose an alternate arrangement if you had to. Beauty can also be in technically difficult pieces, but you might have a tough time appreciating or feeling it if you do not have a grasp on music.
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Some of us are always thinking ahead and trying or figuring new ways to be inventive or creative. Or some of us are just stuck in a rut and unmotivated - I think that's called laziness in some regards heh. But it goes without saying, believe in yourself regardless and do what you enjoy or passionate about. The creativity is going to flow. The routine can be cumbersome and tedious to the extreme, but have a clear mind by focusing and having confidence / pride in who you are and what you do. Confidence, pride and accept no substitutes or excuses.
Saturday, December 01, 2018
There might be only one month left in the year, but it is the most festive time of the year. Get ready for the decor, music and lights - always looking forward to that. This month, I should include some Christmas music in my practice repertoire (just as I was playing Liszt's Danse Macabre during October).
I wouldn't say an awakening or a revelation, but I feel a renewed sense of determination going ahead. I couldn't be more grateful and fortunate to have my spouse who has been by me throughout all my temperaments and issues (as well as loved ones including my parents). I still have anxiety (and it usually does bite back hard at times) and lazy, but one step at a time. My mind was never really clear or focused, even though I tried to mean well.
Stay safe, healthy, and eat well.
And oh yeah. Francis also hates broken power helmets Todd! muhaha.
Friday, November 30, 2018
The controversies in the gaming industry might not be as known or relevant to non-gamers, but they are serious issues. The Diablo Immortal mobile fiasco with Blizzard, and now the Fallout situation with Bethesda; which the company appears to be heading towards a "falling out". I don't know the game and company, nor do I have any interest in them (albeit having the time to play any new games). But you know it's serious when you have Youtubers posting or creating videos about it.
The common thread between various issues seems to be that there is a serious disconnect or apathy from the gaming company as what the customers want. Businesses should always strive to make the customers happy and know what they want. At the same time, customers have to give businesses the benefit of the doubt. A lot of situations can be out of their control, or other issues. It's a two-way relationship - you can't have an uptight, whiny wife who insists she is right all the time heheh.
In conclusion. Ya hear that, Todd?! Francis does not want nylon bags and mustaches on characters! muhaha.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Physical media (CD's, DVD's, etc) are becoming obsolete but like vinyl, I'm sure they'll still be around for collection purposes and other reasons. For me, it's been several years. Our phones are the new media players (if you have one heh).
My Christmas wish list: new headset or ear phones for the computer (gaming or otherwise), new gaming chair (expensive as hell), an updated budget TV (for the apps), and the film "Searching" on digital download! The last one is feasible, but the others I don't intend to outright purchase unless I receive a gift card as a present or a gift. An eventual necessity is to upgrade my lenses for the glasses I wear (too scratched up).
I would like to see Wong Fu create an "Asian Bachelor", but they talked about it in one of their Lunch Break videos. Speaking of the new calendar returnees - Bart Kwan aka the "Asian Gigolo" heheh, or Mr. Spam muhaha.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
If the expression for enjoying a happy meal is "I'm lovin' it", then perhaps for Thanksgiving dinner - "Now I'm lovin' that!" muhaha. Certainly, I stuffed myself as usual - and the beauty of it is that there are always leftovers. Season's Greetings - it's never too early for the Christmas spirit heh.
Tis the season to be grateful and thankful for a lot of things - our health, loved ones, and an optimistic future. Nonetheless, a lot of us are less fortunate than others. It's our attitude and state of mind that can determine how healthy and optimistic our futures can be. We need to maintain our positivity, empower ourselves and continue to grow in influence as well as success. I think that's the most effective way to beat haters, enemies, etc. They'll try to drag you down to their level, but we should be above that. Yeah, we might have counter-tactics of our own. And although I sometimes believe in getting in the last word or having the last laugh, it's usually not productive to resort to tactics like that.
A "Francis Hates Dry Turkey" would've been hella funny heheh.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
I should've realized that Thanksgiving falls on the fourth week of November, not necessarily the last Thursday of November. This month has five weeks with the month beginning on a Thursday. I guess it makes as much sense as Daylight Savings time, which I also forgot about heh. With early Christmas music, you can say that some folks are already getting their jollies on. It's a good feeling getting into the spirit of things (decor, music) early - except for some heheh.
I'll end the year with two final recordings - more music from Studio Ghibli anime and perhaps a few others. I'm not sure when the next recordings are going to be, but perhaps next month.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Well, Thanksgiving or Turkey Day is almost upon us. Food, Folks and Fun for sure. Although most of us think of food during this time, we have to be thankful for other things in life as well - our health, loved ones, etc. It's difficult and heart-breaking to think about individuals in debilitating situations or in dire straits.
I'm glad to hear that John Cho was nominated for the Spirit Awards' Best Male Lead for "Searching". Definitely a top film of mine, and well-deserving. Now he has to win it.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Self-reflecting or instrospection isn't something I bother with anymore, but it's something I probably need to do anyway. Sometimes, you don't want to look at your faults or issues that haven't really gone or have continued to linger. But when an epiphany or an awakening happens, it can be life-changing. I can only hold onto it, and just find that conviction or determination to make it work. In the end, the relevant question should always be - what do you really want, and what really makes you happy? If you are not cut out for relationships, then so be it. I'm at crossroads where I've been in-between. I've said the right things, but I haven't acted on it or truly showed the conviction or motivation. It's never too late to wake up.
Any reasonable professional would tell you to always strive to improve. I'm sure artists, musicians, video gamers look at themselves and see what they can do better. But also, don't be too hard on yourself. Give yourself credit as well. But also, never settle for anything less.
I agree with Sungwon Cho's tweet: "i liked the parts where there were no pokemon onscreen". Although I have no intention or interest on watching a movie like that - the typical offering of the film industry that has become stagnant or stale. I'd recommend going the independent or international route, with must-see films like "Fiction & Other Realities" (currently in the film festival circuit) and "Surrogate Valentine 3" (unreleased date) wherever available. "Burning" is in international film that appears highly recommended as well.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
While social media is usually known or used for hilarious / funny shit, bickering, etc., once in a while you get an inspirational or down-to-earth tweet or quote. They are rare or does not really exist these days, but I think you can find them in more tight-knit circles. Who needs them, right? But anyway, D-Choi has some of them. My father used to always tell me, have a "can-do" spirit. Positive reinforcement or thinking goes a long way for a healthier way of living, and finding what you are good at or what your true talents are. You don't have to short-change yourself thinking you are not creative, but you can certainly surprise yourself.
Most importantly, you have to find what you are passionate about or what you enjoy - otherwise, it isn't worth doing. It usually goes together with talent. Of course, not everyone is naturally talented at something but don't let that get you down.
Some of my favorite modern day musicians or song-writers: Goh Nakamura, D-Choi, and Bobby Choy aka "The Big Phony" - two of whom are coming out with independent movies. You can't get any more down-to-earth and real than that.
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Just grab a Flex Tape polo shirt, stick some Flex Tape to a foam weight-lifting weights (the round 25 lbs on bench presses), and become the Flex Tap guy! You'll surely win the next Halloween costume contest that way haha.
We'll be heading into our first winter out here - it'll certainly be wet and dreary (while I pondered...). But that's the cost of living here - you learn how to deal with it. If anything, the summer months of sun might be worth it if you can handle all the precipitation during the winter. I'll be looking forward to some more food, folks and fun again for Thanksgiving.
In any endeavor, you have to enjoy what you are doing and have a passion or an interest for it. Otherwise, it isn't worth it; if there is any remote chance that something is going to bore the crap out of you heh. Combined with the right talent, it should become instinctive and natural.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Bobby Choy's (aka "The Big Phony) film "Fiction & Other Realities" is another must-see film for me, but is lesser known of the independent films because there is not a lot of exposure...yet. It is currently making its rounds in select film festivals (kudos to the cities), and it deserves to be in theaters (even if limited).
It's apparent that I've become more emotionally stale and apathetic these days. I get agitated and have less patience for trivialities and the drabness or blandness of today's reality. But I have means of escape or ways to invigorate my spirit or feel inspired - Music (classical piano in particular) is the first and foremost. When you've come to a point where you can feel the music flow naturally, it's euphoric and empowering. Whether it's gaming or sharing my thoughts / entertaining on this website, as well as supporting and looking out for Asian-American talents. Unfortunately, when this becomes your reality and reality or society becomes fictional to you, something just might be unappealing with society or reality in general (not a given, but certainly more often than not). We all have escape mechanisms or methods to avoid the dreariness of it all. But don't let it come to that extreme point of no return.
We are all in different predicaments and conundrums - but never give up!
Monday, October 22, 2018
It's been awhile since I've had Five Guys burgers, it's top notch. So is their cajun fries - gives the expression "Ragin' Cajun" a whole new meaning, 'cause I think it's all the rage heh. We might not have In 'N Out or Shake Shack, but fortunately there's Five Guys around. And what's that place that Sungwon thinks is better than In 'N Out? And whatta...what? Whatta - baga? More like, Whatta - no thanks.
Ricky Berwick is back! Our lives are fulfilled.
Friday, October 19, 2018
When it comes to classic arcade games, Galaga was my niche. I was certainly not a record-breaker on that game, but got to really high levels however. If you have the budget or just a collector of classics, perhaps Arcade1UP might be worth it. I still think there should be more games or options on it. "..and my spinnas got spinnas and my spinnas got spinnas.." heh
I think it's a matter of preference and comfort when it comes to console or personal computer. There'll be varying opinions on which takes more skill, but perhaps it's also a function of the game itself. For instance, I can see how a PC might be preferable for games such as WoW. For FPS, it can go either way. If you are a PC person, keybinding and macros are helpful. Keybinding is usually a must, but a skilled player might be able to get away without having to use macros.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
I haven't really thought about what the next piece is as far as recording goes. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying practicing some new pieces or repertoire as well as existing ones. It's all in my thematic practice scheduling. But I should give more thoughts on my classical repertoire page.
I have to give kudos to "Artists at Play" for being bold and uncompromising. I'm not into theater but if I were, "Two Mile Hollow" would be worth watching. It's an all Asian-American cast, and I'm not sure if the expressions "role reversal" and "the ends justify the means" applies to this situation. But as a satire, I'm certainly glad that they did something like this.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Try doing this with simple text and saving it as HTML (I'm not an artist as you can see heh):
\ ( 0.0) /
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Youtube drama can be interesting and perhaps fun to watch. But it can also be volatile, toxic and not worth it. I just don't pay any attention to most of it, in particular the scripted ones. If there's real beef and if it's a situation I find amusing, why not. It's the scams and money-making schemes that you need to watch out for and avoid at all costs.
Ricky Berwick is apparently Bob Ross' successor muhaha. Woot! Perhaps we'll be seeing more canvass paintings of happy little trees heh.
Friday, October 05, 2018
Once again, I have to say it. Liszt's "Danse Macabre" is a hauntingly fitting piece for this month. From the opening theme of the midnight hour at hand, to the crescendo-ing of the festivities and dances from the ghouls and goblins. I don't play or practice Liszt much, especially his technically-difficult transcription pieces. But I think everything has to do with being into a piece as well as the finger strength, reach and stamina. It's coming along, and refining things more properly. But unless I'm into a piece or in the mood to play one, I should not get into it. More thoughts on new repertoire on my classical piano blog at another time.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Anime Crimes Division - The Beach Episode. I would have reacted similarly to Sungwon's character (in terms of his facial expression haha), holding in his contempt and disgust to the villain's opinion on the awful version of Dragonball Evolution (well, I learned something new. Was there really a movie on this? Being awful - that I believe). I figured she was a villain based on that heh. Moral of the story - go for the authentic and accept no substitutes or rehashings / bad remakes.
Collaborating with other popular Youtubers seem to be the fad these days. Probably makes things more interesting. With that said, Dear Ryan - so who are you are going into battle against or with? I guess that is the question of the year now, but perhaps fans are going to soon find out.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Fortunately, I got to watch a performance online of maestro Lang Lang. The last one I saw was a recital of his - Bach's Italian Concerto and Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons" program. There really isn't a lot who can play or perform difficult pieces with finesse and ease (well, perhaps the Video Game Pianist as well). On top of that, the interpretive and emotive qualities. I've always felt that's where the music begins - expressing it, on top of mastering the nuances and technicalities of the notes.
My musical motto - don't think it, feel it. It'll come more naturally that way.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Some Tuesday Tidbits:
I think "Anime Crimes Division" deserves to win the Streamy's (as well as "Yappie"). If not for the reason that it's a funny, well-made show, then to redeem themselves from snubbing Ryan Higa heh.
I'm glad to hear that "Surrogate Valentine 3" surpassed its Kickstarter goal.
I'm certain that "The Good Doctor" is going to have another stellar season. I keep saying that I'll check it out one of these days, but I end up forgetting.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
I have to say that I didn't expect the cameos throughout "Asian Bachelorette Season 2", and it was a nice surprise. Overall, it was funny as heck. Some one-liners:
*Silence. "Okay I'm outta here" *More silence. "Did ya hear that?" Who else in their right mind would want somebody who is musically inept. Me neither muhaha.
"You're eating a hot dog. What do you think is in there?!" "I really am from Hawaii". Nuoc Mam Style FTW muhaha.
"'Donut' mess with us" "....I'm a hole in one" *lifting a donut
"Have you seen Daniel Dae Kim?" "Yeah...we were supposed to be on 'dancing with the stars'"
Saturday, September 15, 2018
It appears that I'll be watching the WoW Arena Tournament all weekend heh (except for the damn ads. I just close the window - the benefits of dual monitors and multiple browsers opened). I agree with the consensus - the tournament can do without the tank trinket but they probably can't all of a sudden remove it. Probably nerf it. Until then, we'll have to sit through more dampening games.
I think a lot of brief video clips on twitter feeds could be a standalone Youtube video heheh.
While "Searching" has become a movement as well (and a favorite for a lot), the next film I'll probably check out or watch is "Surrogate Valentine 3". Support the movement!
With Anime Crimes Division S2 underway, there's the Asian Bachelorette S2 coming soon. Life is g-hooooooood muhaha.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Hurricane Florence - Katrina's evil sibling? Not quite, since it can still weaken as it moves towards shore. Nonetheless, never take these things lightly as it probably is still going to be one whopper of a storm no less a monster. I remember sitting through Irene and Sandy (both with power outages and not as intense) - fortunately, I'm no longer on the east coast. Out here however, we get our fair share of severe weather on occasion. Again, never take these things lightly.
It's pretty easy for me. When it comes to Youtube content, I watch what I want to watch and never click on anything I have no interest in (which is quite a lot - usually wait until somebody that I'm subbed to might happen to just advertise a new person or creator). Content creators should do the same - create what you enjoy creating, and perhaps the occasional trending topic that gives views. Personally, I would never want to compromise my standards or beliefs, or create / do things that I would not enjoy. But to each their own. Situations are different, and sometimes you just might have to.
Saturday, September 08, 2018
To play or not to play video games all weekend - that is the ultimate question haha. Although I do log in to WoW frequently (or whenever I get the chance), it hasn't gotten to the point where I play all day. Perhaps it just appears that way. I guess for guys like myself who suffer from anxiety issues and exhibit anti-social tendencies, video games are a form of escape. A plus if you are good at it as well.
Even then, I still have to learn how to balance that with more productive activities such as exercising or spending some time outdoors. Music is always a healthy, invigorating activity or hobby - no matter what instrument you play - for the mind, body and soul.
Anime Crimes Division S2 is off to a good beginning! Check it out, and can't wait for more.
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
I think "Searching" has become a borderline Top Ten film of mine (four out of four) - if anything, for its staggering execution of telling the story through only mobile screens, computers, cameras, etc. without compromising that. All the awhile, on top of the tense story, direction, acting. A replete thoughts and review on Film Forum page forthcoming.
And as usual, the "Searching" ticket stub:
Monday, September 03, 2018
I guess Labor Day should be known also as Lazy Day. Absolutely - there's no reason to do anything at all - Thanks, Ricky! heh. But then again, I usually feel lazy and am completely home-bound most of the time. It's difficult when you suffer from anxiety or just feel apathy and unmotivated most of the time. It's been a hindrance and an obstacle for sure that I still haven't overcome. Since moving out here, I haven't gone out and exercised as much unfortunately - with places that much farther away being a reason. But it certainly shouldn't be an excuse. When it comes to cardio as well as exercising, there is no excuse. But I guess I'm just a computer or online addict.
The classical repertoire that I play or go through during my sessions or practices always lifts my spirits and invigorates me. I have to say that today's practice seemed to be the most productive and satisfying so far - I went through some new pieces as well as some full Piano Sonatas properly (without having to pause or stop often).
It is possible that "Searching" might move into my Top Ten list. We'll find out.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
For sure, "Searching" was absolutely a meticulous endeavor in terms of capturing and putting together all the images of screens, browsers, device desktops, etc. Not a lot of films can boast that, and still tell a compelling story or thriller. This film might require some critical thinking skills or patience, and it's not for anyone who wants just mindless, instant action or a millenial type of film (no thanks). Fortunately, some audiences are getting it. I'm curious as to what the twists are (apparently, not as obvious as thought), but we should find out. I'm staying away from any spoilers if at all.
There were a few more Hisaishi pieces I had in mind, but for now - the ones recorded and uploaded serve an underlying theme or purpose. It's time to go back to Mendelssohn, for two or three more pieces.
My Weird Al fan page and Beavis & Butt-Head page are pretty much retired, as I had not updated them in several years. But they are on my home page with playlists and other juicy tidbits, for nostalgia purposes. Wanna run with my crew, huh? Weird Al gets the 'star' treatment heheh.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Oh yeah - Anime Crimes Division S2. Perhaps I should binge watch S1.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
I never tried playing the piano with my body facing away from it. I've seen the Video Game Pianist attempt it. It's not easy - but you have to get accustomed to thinking the opposite way; your right hand is in the bass, and your left is in the treble. If natural cross-overs in a piece is something you're used to, this shouldn't be much of an issue I suppose. However, some experienced guitarists can solo riff their shit on the back of their head like its nothing haha.
You just have to find like-minded individuals. The only ones who are worth the effort to convince, are ones who have not taken a stance or are objective (unbiased).
I'll gladly put my money where my mouth is, and watch "Searching". Pray tell that it expands to even more theaters. Again - go watch it!
Friday, August 24, 2018
I began to record some Hisaishi music from the Studio Ghibli anime films. I didn't have much lighting, so I was going for the silhouette effect heh. It works in a way, but I would certainly prefer some lighting. Anyway, the music is so hauntingly beautiful (especially the key changes - F to D-flat), I hummed a bit in the "Nausicaa" piece. I tried to channel my inner Hisaishi into them haha, as I was inspired by the Budokan concert. More to come, as well as further thoughts on my classical repertoire page.
"Searching" is a must-see for me. From all the articles I've read, two salient points - it's not a gimmick, and it's very Hitchcock-like. Go see it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
We've been going to a lake for a swim as well as a picnic frequently this summer - and today might be the last day before temperatures begin to drop again as we head into Autumn. Just another realization that the summer is almost over.
We saw "Crazy Rich Asians" yesterday, and enjoyed it. A review and some thoughts on it on my film page. Overall, it makes you want to visit Singapore for the dazzling and stylish architecture - if not for the food heh. The cast, the director and all who worked on it deserve all the success, and I wish them future successes in their endeavors. This is just the beginning. Next up, I am absolutely looking forward to watching "Searching", especially since it is a thriller genre that is told through an unsual way - from the point of view of our everyday devices and technology that we use.
Let's face it. Genres such as sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc. are not necessarily mainstream so I do not give as much of a rat's ass about the lack of representation there (although the problem is even worse unfortunately, and should be rectified). Well, John Cho is going to be in "The Grudge" - which I believe is a horror film.
In the tradition of sharing ticket stubs, here it is:
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Here is an article on an influential Asian-American actor who also paved the way, and helped find East-West Players (as a result of his experiences of racism):
I might need to create a Ricky Berwick fan page a la Andy Milonakis - instead of beats, share his hilarious skits and videos.
The Try Guys should try the new Yukon Striker that'll open next year. Or one or two 300+ FT dive coaster. If they do, I'll sub for life heh.