Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Secretary of State, the Instructor, and the Piano

 

The piano has been an important part of life for Condoleezza Rice and George Barth, her teacher. Although not as popular in today’s culture, for them classical music is challenging but worth the effort to understand the piano’s importance and beauty. As secretary of state, Rice would play the piano as a way of remembering where she came from and a way to refocus. In short, she said playing the piano made her a better secretary of state (although she also reveals that she likes to work out to Led Zeppelin).

Note: See is additional footage of Rice and Barth at the piano and a look at one of their lessons here.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Love it.

    • #1
    • December 22, 2015, at 3:08 PM PST
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  2. Kay of MT Member

    Truly outstanding!

    • #2
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:01 PM PST
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  3. Debra Inactive

    Thank you for this. Beautiful.

    • #3
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:18 PM PST
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  4. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    • #4
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:31 PM PST
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  5. EThompson Inactive

    “We need to stay connected to this highest art form.”

    Perfect.

    • #5
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:37 PM PST
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  6. Arahant Member

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Bad analogy. A supertaster is never going to like Brussels sprouts. On the other hand, a super-hearer will never much like metal.

    • #6
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:48 PM PST
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  7. Topher Inactive

    They are playing the Beethoven Spring Sonata for piano and violin. I just performed this on Sunday.

    • #7
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:51 PM PST
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  8. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Arahant:

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Bad analogy. A supertaster is never going to like Brussels sprouts. On the other hand, a super-hearer will never much like metal.

    Maybe I’m just being contrarian (this is always a possibility with me), but I’m not really sure such a thing as a “super-hearer” even exists. Super-pretentiousness, sure … but not the other thing.

    • #8
    • December 22, 2015, at 4:52 PM PST
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  9. Jules PA Member

    Oh. How wonderfully compelling.

    Thank you for putting that interview together to show how wonderful ‘uncommon knowledge’ can be. Barth and Rice are a great pair.

    I particularly like their defense of both Brahms and Ives.

    Thank you thank you.

    • #9
    • December 22, 2015, at 5:35 PM PST
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  10. Arahant Member

    The King Prawn: Maybe I’m just being contrarian (this is always a possibility with me), but I’m not really sure such a thing as a “super-hearer” even exists. Super-pretentiousness, sure … but not the other thing.

    If I remember rightly, you know that super-tasters exist, and I thought you said you are one. Certainly some people have better than average vision and some not-so-great vision (myself among the latter). So, why should it not be that some people have much better hearing than others?

    This is especially so if a person has been exposed to industrial noises and loud concerts. It is well-known that such things can cause permanent hearing damage. On the other hand, someone who has gone out of his way to protect his hearing is likely to maintain a higher-than-normal range in both volume and pitch. Then throw in normal human variation and surely some people start out with unusually good hearing. They might be even more careful of their hearing if louder music and sounds tended to hurt. Is it a jump too far to think that those listening to metal might have more marginal hearing than those listening to quiet Baroque chamber music?

    • #10
    • December 22, 2015, at 5:46 PM PST
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  11. Jules PA Member

    The King Prawn: “super-hearer”

    A heightened acuity of sight and extraordinary physical control creates a sharpshooter, a star basketball player, an olympian. I must believe the same kind of super-ness exists in every human sense and ability, including sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.

    • #11
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:02 PM PST
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  12. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    It’s not a lack of hearing, more a lack of understanding. Or, as my wife said about the comment, “you’re an unschooled heathen.”

    • #12
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:16 PM PST
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  13. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    And it’s not that I can’t or don’t enjoy classical music. I merely don’t believe complexity and beauty are synonymous where music is concerned. There is a very great deal of beauty and musicality in simplicity as well. Then there’s my soul level revulsion toward anything snooty. That’s probably most of my problem.

    • #13
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:18 PM PST
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  14. Jules PA Member

    Pretentiousness is a human foible of those who pretend to be better than they truly are. I think the genuine nature of ‘super-ness’ can be observed in savants, who can in no way be seen to be pretentious, but just use their senses to do the things they do best.

    • #14
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:22 PM PST
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  15. Jules PA Member

    The King Prawn: anything snooty.

    what makes something snooty?

    are notes, rhythms, and sounds snooty?

    is it the thing itself? or a person associated with it? or the perception of a person associated with something that makes it snooty?

    • #15
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:28 PM PST
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  16. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Jules PA:

    The King Prawn: anything snooty.

    what makes something snooty?

    are notes, rhythms, and sounds snooty?

    is it the thing itself? or a person associated with it? or the perception of a person associated with something that makes it snooty?

    It’s the behavior of those who appreciate such things to the exclusion of other worthy things. Condi works out to Led Zeppelin. She gets it. She knows there is something else out there.

    • #16
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:36 PM PST
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  17. Arahant Member

    The King Prawn: There is a very great deal of beauty and musicality in simplicity as well. Then there’s my soul level revulsion toward anything snooty.

    I’ll put some not-at-all snooty dance music in the PIT for you.

    • #17
    • December 22, 2015, at 6:42 PM PST
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  18. RightAngles Member

    What a remarkable woman. And Peter Robinson is pretty remarkable too.

    • #18
    • December 22, 2015, at 7:41 PM PST
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  19. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson

    Topher:They are playing the Beethoven Spring Sonata for piano and violin. I just performed this on Sunday.

    Ah, we have a real musician among us. Which part did you perform, Topher?

    • #19
    • December 22, 2015, at 8:34 PM PST
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  20. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson

    RightAngles:What a remarkable woman. And Peter Robinson is pretty remarkable too.

    You, RightAngles, are my new best friend.

    • #20
    • December 22, 2015, at 8:34 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson

    Jules PA:Oh. How wonderfully compelling.

    Thank you for putting that interview together to show how wonderful ‘uncommon knowledge’ can be. Barth and Rice are a great pair.

    I particularly like their defense of both Brahms and Ives.

    I’m still not entirely sold on either, myself, but their love for the composers is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    • #21
    • December 22, 2015, at 8:36 PM PST
    • Like
  22. RightAngles Member

    Peter Robinson:

    Jules PA:Oh. How wonderfully compelling.

    Thank you for putting that interview together to show how wonderful ‘uncommon knowledge’ can be. Barth and Rice are a great pair.

    I particularly like their defense of both Brahms and Ives.

    I’m still not entirely sold on either, myself, but their love for the composers is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    To me, Ives sounds like a traffic jam. But I, too, loved their love for classical music.

    • #22
    • December 22, 2015, at 9:03 PM PST
    • Like
  23. RightAngles Member

    Peter Robinson:

    Topher:They are playing the Beethoven Spring Sonata for piano and violin. I just performed this on Sunday.

    Ah, we have a real musician among us. Which part did you perform, Topher?

    Yes, Topher, tell us more. And is there a way for us to hear you play?

    • #23
    • December 22, 2015, at 9:04 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Carey J. Inactive

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Nah, it’s more like beer. Give a little kid a taste of beer, even an American sex-in-a-canoe beer, and they’ll probably grimace in response. By the time they’re 21, they’ll have been busted for drunk and disorderly, DUI, or at least have had their first hangover.

    • #24
    • December 22, 2015, at 9:41 PM PST
    • Like
  25. EThompson Inactive

    Carey J.:

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Nah, it’s more like beer. Give a little kid a taste of beer, even an American sex-in-a-canoe beer, and they’ll probably grimace in response. By the time they’re 21, they’ll have been busted for drunk and disorderly, DUI, or at least have had their first hangover.

    Nah, this is what happened to me: Vienna Philharmonic: Riccardo Muti: Mahler #1.

    I was hooked.

    • #25
    • December 22, 2015, at 9:54 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Drusus Coolidge

    The King Prawn:And it’s not that I can’t or don’t enjoy classical music. I merely don’t believe complexity and beauty are synonymous where music is concerned. There is a very great deal of beauty and musicality in simplicity as well. Then there’s my soul level revulsion toward anything snooty. That’s probably most of my problem.

    Listen to Hilary Hahn play the Chaconne from the second Partita. This is where simplicity and complexity, technicality and beauty are all swallowed up in a shudder of awe.

    Listen to the whole thing (repetitively), but if you need to be convinced quickly, start at 5:30.

    • #26
    • December 22, 2015, at 9:56 PM PST
    • Like
  27. EThompson Inactive

    Drusus:

    The King Prawn:And it’s not that I can’t or don’t enjoy classical music. I merely don’t believe complexity and beauty are synonymous where music is concerned. There is a very great deal of beauty and musicality in simplicity as well. Then there’s my soul level revulsion toward anything snooty. That’s probably most of my problem.

    Listen to Hilary Hahn play the Chaconne from the second Partita. This is where simplicity and complexity, technicality and beauty are all swallowed up in a shudder of awe.

    Listen to the whole thing (repetitively), but if you need to be convinced quickly, start at 5:30.

    For me, it really is a fascination with the skill and the talent people have to create such beauty!

    • #27
    • December 22, 2015, at 10:16 PM PST
    • Like
  28. Carey J. Inactive

    One thing that can ruin a performance of a classical (or any other style) performance is playing in a style that doesn’t match the music.

    Submitted for your edification are two performances of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. First we have David Oistrakh and Yehudi Menuhin demonstrating how not to play the piece.

    Oistrakh is one of the all-time greatest violinists, but he clearly does not grok Bach.

    Next up, we have Rachel Podger and Andrew Manze showing how Bach is done.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIOh5Iq683o

    For Bach violin works, you simply cannot beat Podger.

    • #28
    • December 22, 2015, at 10:51 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Paul Erickson Inactive

    EThompson:

    Carey J.:

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Nah, it’s more like beer. Give a little kid a taste of beer, even an American sex-in-a-canoe beer, and they’ll probably grimace in response. By the time they’re 21, they’ll have been busted for drunk and disorderly, DUI, or at least have had their first hangover.

    Nah, this is what happened to me: Vienna Philharmonic: Riccardo Muti: Mahler #1.

    I was hooked.

    I think Jay Nordlinger said, it’s not so much that Mahler sounds like film music, but the reverse. Mahler 1 is one of my all time favorites as well. So accessible and clear- beautiful writing.

    Great horn parts, too!

    • #29
    • December 23, 2015, at 7:57 AM PST
    • Like
  30. EThompson Inactive

    Paul Erickson:

    EThompson:

    Carey J.:

    The King Prawn:So, classical music is like brussels sprouts — if you eat enough of the damnable things you’ll come to appreciate them?

    Nah, it’s more like beer. Give a little kid a taste of beer, even an American sex-in-a-canoe beer, and they’ll probably grimace in response. By the time they’re 21, they’ll have been busted for drunk and disorderly, DUI, or at least have had their first hangover.

    Nah, this is what happened to me: Vienna Philharmonic: Riccardo Muti: Mahler #1.

    I was hooked.

    I think Jay Nordlinger said, it’s not so much that Mahler sounds like film music, but the reverse. Mahler 1 is one of my all time favorites as well. So accessible and clear- beautiful writing.

    Great horn parts, too!

    I love Nordlinger’s NR reviews on music festivals, particularly in Salzburg. I always turn first to his page after receiving my print edition.

    My favorite WFB quote as he was sending Jay off to Austria: “Say hello to the music for me!”

    P.S. Paul; agree about the magnificent effect of the horns but even love the piccolos as well. Over all, Mahler presents his audience with such drama, I can’t help sitting on the edge of my seat the entire concert. :)

    • #30
    • December 23, 2015, at 11:00 AM PST
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