About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“The authority of the Pope is not unlimited. It is at the service of Sacred Tradition. Still less is any kind of general ‘freedom’ of manufacture, degenerating into spontaneous improvisation, compatible with the essence of faith and liturgy. The greatness of the liturgy depends—we shall have to repeat this frequently—on its lack of spontaneity.”
— Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (2000)

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Nothing More Corny Than This
published 13 June 2017 by Jeff Ostrowski

RTURO Benedetti Michelangeli was never a favorite of mine, but nobody doubts his stature as a great pianist. Here’s a clip from 1949, where Michelangeli performs a transcription—by another famous Italian pianist, named Ferruccio Busoni—of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor:


I find his interpretation compelling, but what could be more corny than the way the sculptures are “shown with the beat” at the 1:15 marker?

A word on transcriptions: they went out of style in the 1950s, but sensible musicians realize this was an overreaction. Indeed, in certain cases, a transcription can be nicer than the original. If people who oppose transcriptions want to be consistent—as Busoni once pointed out—they should also be against “theme and variations” pieces.

What Edwin Fischer does with the Bach-Busoni SAINT ANNE is remarkable.