Without the benefit of reading or research, these two people are simply wandering from quarter to quarter, taking pictures that include “a beautiful old church” as well as some creative graffiti in forgotten little alcoves.
The free download offers only 2 minutes of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, but that’s enough to get anyone with more than passing curiosity hooked on a new app from Britain’s Touch Press that brings together four great Deutsche Grammophon recordings of the full work from the last 55 years together with a pile of commentary, background and interactivity.
Classical musicians are taught that, with any piece not attached to a living composer, there is a performance tradition to follow in each act of interpretation. Each composer, style and period imposes certain parameters of convention and taste — even in instances where all we have are diary entries and broad sketches to provide clues about the practices of yore.
To paraphrase John Donne, no pianist is an island. Using one of the more versatile of Western instruments, this musician sits in front of a wide range of tonal possibilities — and also faces a bewildering array of choices that are not always about the piano itself.