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February 22, 2011

Buying some time by remembering the birthday of Benno Moiseiwitsch

It's another of those days (weeks, really) when I'm already behind on everything. Hey, I'm only human (I know -- only, just). While I concentrate on doing phone interviews for print stories (I do still write for a newspaper, you know), I thought I'd beg your indulgence by just posting some music.

Today happens to be the birthday of one of the greatest pianists, Benno Moiseiwitsch, born Feb. 22, 1890 (he died in 1963). If you have to ask who he is, you really need this reminder.

Here's his indelible account of the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as transcribed by Rachmaninoff. What Moiseiwitsch accomplishes here in terms of color and charm is simply amazing, even heard on a scratchy old recording. It doesn't get better than this:

Posted by Tim Smith at 12:44 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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