We had to study Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius.
I've never heard that particular list of "greats," and I am surprised (pleasantly so!) to see Sibelius's name in that list. A list that came from Ray Charles on ABC's Nightline.
A BBC article reports:
. . . he enrolled in formal piano training. He studied Beethoven and Sibelius and enjoyed classical piano . . .
This doesn't make that list of "greats" so hard to understand if we see them as a list of "piano greats." But Sibelius? Hardly a great piano composer. What was Charles doing learning that? Must have been the teacher. Or something.
And if all he was learning was the piano miniatures, he wouldn't have been interested or influenced by the more innovative side of that composer.
But it's not that Ray Charles wasn't a great, innovative musician.
He was a man who could not hide the sheer joy of music-making.
Tangent: Turns out Ray Charles used Sibelius software. Maybe that's as close a connection as there is.
Labels: Jean Sibelius
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