Some people are nerds when it comes to music. Some people are nerds when it comes to classic literature. People like me are nerds when it comes to both music and classic literature.

As a classic literature nerd, I enjoy reading the classics for fun, and shopping at used bookstores for vintage books and classics. But what really makes my day is when I find vintage music magazines or books while shopping. I posted some articles from Etude Magazine, which was the product of another shopping trip. But on one particular shopping trip, I found a volume from a music encyclopedia, called Modern Music and Musicians, published in 1918 (which is obviously not modern):

Apparently someone thought this would make a good coaster

And the selling point was that fact that it was Volume I, which was for pianists. It also had super nerdy things like articles on piano technique and music theory. So I bought it.

As I started to look at it, I found an article entitled: The World’s One Hundred Greatest Compositions for the Piano. Naturally, I’m interested, because I’m a pianist. Here is the list put together if you are curious (some of these have appeared in previous posts/playlists):

Later on, I went through the list, and discovered some pieces I didn’t know, and one composer I had never heard of: Chaminade. So I looked up the composer and listened to the piece. That was when I learned that Chaminade was a Late Romantic French composer, who happened to be a woman. I was like “Oh this is cool, I don’t know of many female composers.”

So I listened to the piece a few times, and I ended up liking it, and practicing it. One of the great advantages of this piece (as opposed to Rachmaninoff), is that Cecile Chaminade didn’t have ridiculously huge hands, and I don’t either, so the notes are within my reach.

The piece is from a collection of 6 concert etudes, and this one is Op. 35 No. 2 Automne. It starts out all peaceful and calm and happy thoughts, then suddenly it changes into fast, turbulent, and not exactly peaceful (2:07), then back to peaceful again (4:12) (kind of a bipolar piece):

And that is just one thing you can discover when you visit a used bookstore.


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