Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

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Single Petal of a Rose

Single Petal of a Rose, by Duke Ellington:

Single Petal of a Rose was written by Duke Ellington as part of his Queen's Suite in the late 1950s. Recorded in 1959, only one was copy was pressed, and given to Queen Elizabeth II. The recording was later released to the general public. (If I'm not mistaken, it was released after Ellington's death, but I can't find any confirmation on that.)

This was originally a duet for piano and bass, but is often played by a solo pianist. (The bass part adds to the overall piece, but is basically sustained notes during the two louder sections, with the flourishes in the right hand.)

I first played this piece as a freshman in college - November of 1999, on my first collegiate jazz concert. It was sort of a test piece my jazz band director, Robert Baca, gave to his pianists. I fell in love with it almost immediately (the great feedback from my first performance of it didn't hurt, either!). And while I love Duke, his music, his band, and his playing, my personal favorite recording of this piece is that done by Sir Roland Hanna:

I wanted to make a video of this for a long time (for both my mother, and at the request of one of my former students). I got a little time in one of the classrooms on campus tonight (and last night - hence my Shostakovich video), so voila!

Once again, thanks for listening!

Shostakovich Prelude

Tonight I recorded a short Shostakovich Prelude, Op 34 No 14, in Eb minor.


I first heard this piece in its band transcription, transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds:

I have to admit that part of me likes the band transcription better. It seems to evoke the darkness of the piece more than solo piano, and the piercing trumpets at the climax add a lot to the piece. This orchestration influenced my interpretation of the piece (but I often think of solo piano pieces in terms of "its orchestration," so that's not too much of a surprise).

Thanks for watching!

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