Music is What Keeps Me Sane

Dr. Phillip M. Feldman

Clearly, I'm not listening (and playing) enough.

My instrument is the piano. Nothing else works so well alone. But, four-handed piano is huge fun, and there are many lovely piano-string duets.

I don't have a favorite composer. If pressed hard enough, I'd say "Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov".

1. Sheet Music Archives

My Sheet Music Archive

Note: Many items in the above archive are old editions published in the former Soviet Union, and not covered by any copyright. There are some items for which the copyright status is unknown. If you have definite knowledge that something that I've posted is covered by a copyright that is valid in the United States, please send me e-mail: Phillip.M.Feldman@gmail.com

A Much Bigger Sheet Music Archive (imslp.org)

2. Reviews of Live Performances

Reviews of Live Performances

3. Favorite Short Music Videos

#1: Waltz of the Flowers, Tchaikovsky
#2: The Gran Jota de Concierto, Tárrega
#3: 'Vocalize', Sergei Rachmaninoff, sung by Anna Moffo
#4: Flight of the Bumblebee, Rimsky-Korsakov
#5: 'Si Un Jour', based on music from Verdi's opera
La Forza del Destino, sung by Natasha Marsh
#6: 'The Flower Duet' from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes, sung by Charlotte Church
#7: Libertango, Astor Piazzolla
#8: Pie Jesu, Andrew Lloyd Webber
#9: Bolero, Ravel

Comments:

#4: The original, unedited version of this video can be found at the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLD05_pC8TY. Jenö Lisztes and Franz Liszt must be related!

#5: The second theme in 'Si Un Jour', which begins at 1:52 into the recording, reminds me of some of the Sephardic and Italian Jewish melodies that I heard as a child and young adult. It is not similar to any one of these melodies, but the feeling is somehow the same.

#7: Even the girls' husbands can't tell them apart! More seriously— someone who knows about such things explained to me that for three of the four audio tracks, Ms. Ryzhkova would have been wearing headphones to be able to listen to the initial, "reference" track. Still, an impressive performance, with clever video effects to top it off.

#8: The purity of these voices is breathtaking. As a Jew, should I enjoy Christian religious music as much as I do? My daughter reassures me that this is perfectly OK.

#9: If one watches (and listens) carefully, a plucked string sounds at 33 seconds into the video without the string actually being touched. Still a great performance, despite this bit of fakery.


4. Questions to Think About

(1) It seems as though there are no post-1950 composers of orchestral music on the same level as the great composers of 1650-1950. Is this a misperception? If so, whom would you rank on a par with Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and so on? If not, what is the explanation? Is it that composers are simply following the money, which is no longer in orchestral composition, or is there something more fundamental going on?

(2) Why did Homo sapiens develop the ability to produce, recognize, and enjoy music? This is probably not a well-posed question, so let me rephrase it: What survival advantage does musical ability confer? A few tentative explanations—some more compelling than others—can be found here.

(3) Why does major music tend to sound happier than minor music, and to what extent is this phenomenon independent of culture?

Last update: 18 April, 2019