Robert Gable reports on the Marc Blitzstein centenary tribute at Other Minds in San Francisco, or, more accurately, reports on a Financial Times review by Allan Ulrich that I don't want to go through the "15-day free trial" rigmarole to read. Writes Ulrich: "In Sarah Cahill's committed performance, the West Coast premiere of the unpublished 1929 Piano Percussion Music heralded a sophisticated musician, attuned to the emotive power of dissonance, the imitative capabilities of the traditional keyboard, a grounding in ornamentation and, in the repeated closing of the keyboard cover, a taste for the dadaist flourishes of the day." The piano-lid gambit recalls Hans Stuckenschmidt's First Piano Sonata, which caused a mild uproar at a Novembergruppe concert of "stationary music" in 1927. At the end of that work, the pianist (Stefan Wolpe, on this occasion) used the right pedal to trigger a mechanism that brought the piano lid down "from a moderate height." So Stuckenschmidt discloses in his memoir Born to Hear — he was eventually more famous as a critic and biographer. Cahill, by the way, is a wonderful Bay Area pianist who specializes in American music, and also plays Ravel about as well as anyone.
A shout-out to Byrant Manning, who has a new blog devoted promisingly to "Classical Arts and Mysteries Abysmal: resurrecting the forgotten, revisiting the familiar and reacting to anything else." That should just about cover it. Also to Oakland pianist Heather, who has a great post on pianists' hands. Cat-lovers should go right now to the Amateur Gourmet, and in particular to the "Video Message from Lolita" under "Funny Food Films" on the left-hand side. Coincidentally, the Gourmet has an informal review of Bright Food Shop, my favorite Chelsea eatery (at 8th and 21st, opposite the Rawhide).