I recently received a thoughtful email from a friend of mine, Elizabeth Middleton. A pianist and composer with eight CD’s of her own music to her credit, Elizabeth wrote in part:
I am beginning to wonder whether there is so much mediocre or just plain bad music being created that people’s ability to hear is being corrupted. It’s so sad that music education has gone by the wayside in public schools and that most classical radio stations have disappeared. Yet, with YouTube, MySpace music profiles, Rhapsody, iTunes and other websites, there are numerous ways for people to discover and listen to good music, of different genres, on the internet.
This video, and the one that follows, are striking examples of the great discoveries that can be found on two of the venues mentioned by Elizabeth: YouTube and classical radio. I had never heard of Valentina Lisitsa before I discovered her on YouTube, and had never heard Rachmaninoff’s first piano sonata until I watched this video.
The first sonata is more expansive than the second, and more romantic in character. When I first heard it, I was struck at once by its scope and power, as well as its technical demands. I was also overjoyed to find that, even after 45 years of listening to Rachmaninoff’s music, there are still new masterpieces to discover.
This recording was made in December 2009 in Hanover, Germany.