I am interested primarily in classical and baroque music. I have a very large collection of CDs, about 400 . Until recently, I was only a listener.

I took piano lessons for a little less than a year in 1990, when I was 14 and then gave up, as I didn't take the time required to practice and learn, busy as I was between school and teaching myself programming, which I have been doing professionally since age 19.

July 2002 :

After 12 years without playing, I decided to give piano another try. I got myself a digital piano with weighted action - a Roland FP-3, if you must know - and started taking piano lessons again in July 2002. This time, I knew I would have to practice seriously.

December 2002 :

I acquired a Schimmel GP169T grand piano for Christmas. I am now practicing mostly on that wonderful acoustic piano, except when playing past 10pm, or when I want to use non-piano sounds - my favorite are harpsichord and organ.

One of my long-term goals is to be able to play the Goldberg Variations from Johann Sebastian Bach. This is a wonderful but notoriously difficult works to play. I own about 25 different CD recordings of it, and never get tired of listening to them.

May 2003 :

I like a good challenge and spent months trying to learn variation 1, which is one of my favorites. Up until may, I could only play the first half of that variation. On May 16, 2003, I was able to make a recording of it that I consider decent enough to listen to and share. It is the first recording I share that I made on my acoustic grand piano.

July 2003 :

There is now a second recording dated July 25, 2003. This marks my first year anniversary of starting over with piano. I only had 9 months' worth of lessons though. My former piano teacher dropped me as a student at the end of March, referring me to other teachers who were more suitable for my interests in music, specifically Bach. After that happened, I went on a 6 weeks trip to Europe - during which I did not play - , and I did not resume taking lessons until July 2003. I did however get to practice the 1st variation during the time I was home and without a teacher. The second recording uses a faster, more interesting tempo. There are also 3 missing notes in the first recording that are present in the second - I don't know how I could have missed them the first time around. To me, the two recordings are like night and day. What a difference 2 months make !

August 2003 :

I finally mastered the second page, after only one month of resuming piano lessons. I can now play it at almost the same pace as the first page. I have posted a recording below dated august 3rd. I haven't managed to make a clean recording of the whole variation at even tempo yet, but I will post one when I do. I'm now on to learning the much more difficult opening Aria of the Goldberg variations.

May 2004 :

There has been a big void in this page, but that doesn't mean that I was not making music. In September 2003, I resumed my lessons with a new teacher, Ray McIntyre. I have been learning both piano and harpsichord with him, as he is lucky enough to own a great double-manual acoustic harpsichord. I wish I had room in my townhouse for such an instrument, but as it is, it's a miracle the grand piano fits at all !

With Ray's help, I was able to learn the Aria of the Goldberg Variations. I have now posted several recordings of it. I also learned Invention 3 in D major. I am hoping to get Goldberg variation 7 finished as well soon, as I am going to give a recital on Ray's harpsichord of the Aria, variation 1 and variation 7 in June.

November 2005 :

I am updating this page for the first time in nearly a year. I added a recording of Goldberg variation 19. It is barely listenable, but that's about as well as I have managed to play this busy year unfortunately.

December 2005 :

I made a recording of variation 18, which I hope you will enjoy. I wish I could play all the other variations this well ! I am hoping to add another recording of variation 19 soon, as well as one of variation 7, which I never posted, even though I completed it.  I'm now working on variation 22, which is the first piece for 4 voices that I'm attempting. I might also try to play the deceptively difficult variation 3 again, after a failed attempt in 2004.

December 29 and 30 : I had a week off work, and was able to make new recordings of variation 18, 19, and 7 on acoustic piano, which I added to the site. Enjoy !


I am keeping track of my progress in the form of recordings below. As I love baroque music, I don't always use piano sound on my digital instruments. I often play harpsichord or organ instead. Don't expect miracles from these recordings. The ones from 2002 are beginners' recordings, and after that just amateurish. In some of them, there are wrong or missing notes, bad rythm, tempo changes, or inconsistent dynamics. Nevertheless, they represent the usually best takes I was able to record at the date listed.

Name
Date
Instrument
Comments
Minuet in G major, Anh 114
September 2002
Digital piano

Minuet in G major, Anh 114
September 2002 Digital harpsichord

Musette in D major, Anh 126
September 2002 Digital piano
Musette in D major, And 126
September 2002 Digital harpsichord
Invention number 1 in C major, BWV 772 Nov 15, 2002
Digital piano
Invention number 1 in C major, BWV 772 Nov 16, 2002
Digital piano
Goldberg Variation 1, BWV 988 May 05, 2003
Acoustic piano

Goldberg Variation 1, BWV 988 Jul 7, 2003
Acoustic piano
Goldberg Variation 1, BWV 988 Aug 03, 2003
Acoustic piano
Goldberg Aria, BWV 988
May 25, 2004
Digital harpsichord

Goldberg Aria, BWV 988 May 25, 2004
Digital piano

Goldberg Aria, BWV 988 May 28, 2004
Acoustic piano

Goldberg Variation 1, BWV 988 May 28, 2004
Acoustic piano

Invention number 1 in C major, BWV 772 May 28, 2004
Acoustic piano
Invention number 8 in F major, BWV 779 December 2, 2004
Digital harpsichord
Played on double-manual organ and new Fantom XR MIDI module
Goldberg Variation 19, BWV 988 November 25, 2005
Acoustic piano
Recorded with M-audio Nova and MXL 990
Goldberg Variation 18, BWV 988 December 20, 2005
Digital piano
one of my best recordings so far. Using Fantom XR piano sound and FP3 controller
Goldberg Variation 19, BWV 988 December 29, 2005
Acoustic piano
Much better recording than November 25 . Faster tempo, more expression, and stereo mix
Goldberg Variation 18, BWV 988 December 29, 2005 Acoustic piano Slightly slower version than last week, with more expression. I'm getting better at recording acoustic piano .
Goldberg Variation 7, BWV 988 December 30, 2005
Acoustic piano
This was an experience miking inside the piano with the lid closed - and the take came out OK, though I have played this variation faster and better on acoustic harpsichord in the past.

My recording instruments are :
Roland FP-3 digital piano
Organworks double-manual organ
Roland Fantom XR, SC-88VL and MT-32 MIDI modules
Schimmel GP169T 5'7" acoustic grand piano

I used to record everything under OS/2 with an SB Live soundcard. Since 2004, I have been using a Roland VS-2400CD digital recorder instead. For acoustic recordings, I used a pair of AKG C-3000B microphones . I also have an M-audio Nova, as well as MXL 990 and 991 microphones.

You may contact me by e-mail at : madbrain AT nospam.rawbw.com . Remove the nospam part from the e-mail address before sending your message. If you include the word "music" in the subject of your message, it is more likely that it will get past my spam filters and that I will actually be able to read it.