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About the blog

This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages and Twitter: @gunnarcedersund

Jan Johansson – documentary, transcriptions, and some lesser known recordings

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Jan 16, 2015 00:48

I have mentioned it before – Jan Johansson is one of my favorite pianists, and I have been dreaming for a long time about finding a detailed transcriptions to his record “Jazz på svenska”. Now I have found it. Today is a happy day!

I found the transcription on youtube, where some friendly soul had used his talent do write down what Jan Johansson plays, note by note, and then just published the for free, for anybody to download. This is what internet can do! This is what we can do for each other, what we already do do for each other, when we are free to create whatever we wish.

Even more! I also found a documentary about Jan Johansson! I have just seen the first few minutes, and I am now eagerly looking forward to watching it in full when I find the time.

Now I need to sleep, however, But first a few links so that you too can see what it is I am talking about. Happy dreams!



First a youtube-clip so that you can hear the record Jazz på svenska. It is one of the most beautiful – and one of the most Swedish – things I know!

Here is the documentary I mentioned

And finally a few other, lesser known, songs.

// internet is an amazing place. So much wonderful things are happening all the time. You just need to be in the right vibration, to make sure that you look in all the right places. I wish for this blog to be such a place.

Widening the image of Ukraine: Kseniya Simonova and her breath-taking sand animations

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Apr 13, 2014 13:19

In these times of an increasingly obvious media dysfunction, their old role is increasingly taken over by the wider alternative media: social media, twitter, youtube, facebook, discussion fora, reddit, wikipedia, crowd-funded independent investigative juournalists, etc etc. Here is a wonderful example of this. Ukraine is now much in the news, and almost exclusively with respect to their relationship with Russia, which has taken a destabilizing, quasi-military turn in the last few months. As I guess virtually all of you know by now. However, Ukraine is so much more than that. It has a social, and cultural, and emotional, and technological, and literature-rich flora of other facets. And it is always so important to keep the big picture of things – to remember all aspects of our beings. Because that puts things into balance. Regarding the cultural aspect of Ukraine, I just witnessed one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen: a wonderfully inspired and talented artist, who creates in sand – live on stage. She does it reflection of the music, but also – more generally – as a reflection of the times she lives in. You mustn’t miss it! I just saw it as a youtube-link on facebook, and will post it both here and there 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂


Our duty in art: to leave our mark on the time we live in

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Apr 12, 2014 20:11


Today I got a new music book I have been looking forward to for quite some time now: “10 easy pieces” by a Polish guy called Preisner. Most of you know probably know of him because he has written the music to many of the Kieslowski movies, e.g. the trilogy Colors: the Blue, Red, and White movies. The music I have gotten home now is something that was born out of the end of this collaboration. As he himself said, at the funeral of his long-standing collaboration partner:

When people like Krzysztof die, the question to be answered is whether those of us who are left have enough strength to take over from them. Whether we have enough strength to say, ‘Now it’s our time. Now look at us’. Do we have enough talent? Until we try, we don’t know. We know that there is a future waiting for us. Some of us are involved in the thing called art – I don’t like the word, but I don’t know a better one. We were born from the art, and were educated by it. And we have a duty to do something more. Somebody has left us something, and we too must leave something, some testimony of our time.”


I thought that that quote was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. I think that it is so true. We don’t know if we have the strength to do something as good as the geniuses that have gone before us. But we have a duty to try – to leave our own personal mark on this particular era.


An interesting side-note on this piece is that it was written in a tight collaboration between Preisner and the pianist who recorded it: Leszek Mozdzer. Mozdzer is a classically trained jazz musician, who apparently have done something I have been thinking about quite a lot, and even played around with a little bit: covers of classical piano pieces. In other words, he takes onto himself the role of the composer, and considers himself as an equal to the composers who wrote the original score. Therefore, the score I just gotten home, is just as much the production of Mozdzer – Preisner intentionally gave him very sketchy ideas, and the printed music are the notes that Mozdzer himself played based on these sketches (in other words: the kind of transcript I would love to have of Jan Johansson’s Jazz på Svenska).

In this perspective, it is perhaps also interesting to end with a little update on Beethoven, since it was Beethoven who really brought the stress on following the sheet music into the classical music tradition (before him improvisation and a cover-mentality to performances was as natural as it is in today’s pop and rock culture). As I wrote in my plans for 2014, I started the semester by playing the complete op 111 for the first time (it went well!), and I am now practicing – with great enthusiasm – his op 109, and am also preparing for my first rehearsal concert: where I will again play the first sonata: op 2:1. Both things could very well happen before the Summer. And on the op 109 concert, I will only play the last movement, which is around 12 minutes. So then I will probably end with some other things – perhaps an easy piece by Preisner/Mozdzer 🙂

Plans for 2014: music dreams

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Jan 07, 2014 01:36

As I wrote in my previous blog, I love to use the turn of the year for summing up, zooming out, and looking ahead – to create inspiring visions and images that I can use to guide me in the time to come. To find images that generates a feeling that will nourish and sustain me, that will keep making me want to move forward. Images that bring that nice sense of eagerness when I wake up in the morning.

As most of you know by now, one of those long-term visions that I have had for many years, and launched in a very concrete form in 2011, is to be able to play all of the Beethoven sonatas in an intensive concert series in 2027, at the 200th anniversery of Beethoven’s death. One of the reasons why I find this vision so inspiring is that these sonatas really form a corner stone in the literature of music. To quote Daniel Barenboim, “Bach’s preludes and fugues form the Old Testament, and Beethoven’s piano sonatas form the New Testament of Western music”. And it is true: each of the sonatas is a world of its own, and together they form such an important fundament for all the music that has come since. It is therefore an unspeakable pleasure to dive into these worlds one by one, and also to see how they fit together into the life-story that is Beethoven’s amazing journey: from the classicistic Mozart-like early sonatas, to the revolutionary famous works like the Moonlight, Sturm, and Waldstein sonatas, and to the transcendental visionary works of his final sonatas, op 106 and op 109-111. Another reason why I find this project so inspiring is that it is a feat that – despite its strong appeal to almost all pianists – quite few pianists actually accomplish. Many of the most famous pianists of the previous century – Horowitz, Rubinstein, Rachmaninoff, etc – never got through (at least recording) all of them, despite coming close in some cases. To my knowledge, there is only one pianist, ever, in Denmark who played all of them, and in Sweden I only know of two: Per Tengstrand and Hans Paulsson. I have always liked major projects, that take many many years to accomplish, and this Beethoven project is thus a little bit also a manhood test. Like running the Iron Man, or the Spartathlon. It would put me in a quite exclusive group of pianists, and thus prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my choice of having science as my main occupation has in no way hampered my ability to pursue my piano ambitions.

// inspiring video of a father loving his son, and their love of big joint projects. I love such projects, and I love such father-son relationships.

More specifically, regarding this Beethoven project, I am basically on track. Last year was the third year, and since my schedule is to play 2 sonatas per year, I have now played from 6 sonatas in concert: op 2:1,3; op 10:2, op 27:2, op 31:2, and op 111. The only sonata that I haven’t played in full yet is op 111, since I only played the second and last movement in the concert in February 2013. The reason for this division was that that movement is so long – 20 min, the second longest of all his movements – and that it therefore alone is longer than many of the other sonatas. I have since then worked with the first movement, and especially after some nice time to practice now during the holidays, I now know it almost by heart as well. To play the complete op 111 is therefore one of the first concerts planned for 2014, and it will mark an important milestone in the overall project. This sonata is one of the most difficult ones, apart from being one of the most remarkable ones, and I will then have played both the first and the last sonata. In other words, after that, I just need to fill in with the ones in the middle 🙂 The two new ones “in the middle” planned for 2014 are op 10:1 (now in the Spring, an easy one), and op 109 (another favourite among the three final amazing ones, and it will require the entire year to learn). 2014 will also mark the year when I will have played 1/4 of the sonatas (8 of 32), and since I thus now am starting to have quite a few sonatas under my belt, I will this year also start with rehersal concerts.

These rehersal concerts will thus be repeats of sonatas that I already have played, but that I keep alive and active. In virtally all cases I will in these concerts also take the opportunity to improve upon things I haven’t been completely satisified with yet. This thing of taking up old pieces again is an absolutely necessary part of this project, and it is also very rewarding: you come much deeper into a piece when you already know it, and can go directly to specific difficult details, and to the musical “feeling-aspects” of the piece. These repeat concerts will be held in three ways: as new lunch concerts, as music soirees, and as a new thing for me – as regular concerts.

Such regular concerts is something I have earlier shunned a bit away from, since there have been a few things I haven’t liked about them (primarily the distance between the audience and the performer). However, after attending a few fascinating concerts – perhaps most importantly a concert with Sokolov in Stockholm, and my virtual concert feast now during the holidays – I have started to apprieciate some of the special things that only are possible in regular concerts. There are three places close to here that I feel calling to me: St:Lars kyrkan (my original practice place), Wallenbergsalen (with its new grand piano), and Lunnevad (where I started my more formal studies, and to where I have long wanted to come back). We will see which of these will be the first one out. Apart from these places, I also feel like performing when I go travelling; this is a dream I have had for a long time, and I think that these local concerts will bring me one step closer to seeing that happen more and more.

Regarding the music soirees, I had one of those during 2013, in August. Its topic was “M”, and it was described in an earlier blog. During 2014 I plan to have one in the end of the spring, a small one with some 35 guests, with the working title: “4 Beethoven sonatas and a little bit of theatre”. 2 of these Sonatas will be solo (probably the first and the last) and the other 2 will be together with guests (probably the cello sonata op 69, and his clarinett trio). 2014 will also be devoted to planning for the thereafter following big soiree, which will be held during 2015, with the title “Ballader och andra berättelser” (eng: “Ballades and other stories”).
Frederic Chopin, as depicted by Wodzinka (from Wikipedia).

A Ballade is originally an old song and dance form, one of the oldest ones we know of actually, but it has also been going through many re-interpretations and transformations, and a corner stone in those transformations are Chopin’s interperations of them. He wrote 4 Ballades for solo piano, and each of them is a master piece. During 2012 I played the first and the last, and I have now during 2013 been practicing on the third Ballade. Since I have had some nice peace and quiet to practice during the Christmas holidays, also this major piece is now much closer to being ready for prime light, and I plan to play this as well during the first half of the Spring. The rest of 2014 I will spend learning the remaining Ballade, the second one in F major. I think that that Ballade is the easiest one, so I hope and think it will be possible to learn it in about a year. After I have learned that one, I plan to play all of them at the big soiree in 2015, and probably also at a concert in St:Lars kyrkan.

Learning those 4 Ballades by Chopin marks the end of another major project I have been working on the for the last 2 years, and once it is finished, I am ready to embark on another major one. Once I get closer to that point, it will be nice to start dreaming more in detail about what that project will be. Perhaps something by Bach (a long-term dream is to play his Goldberg variations)? Another tempting thing, which I want to do one day but perhaps not immediately afterwards, is to start with a new Chopin project: his etudes. During the holidays, I have read through his op 25, the last 12 etudes, and they actually looked more feasible than I thought.

J.S. Bach, does he have some piece that will end up being my next big project after the Ballades are finished?

Those are the main dreams I have going into 2014 – it will be interesting to see how they play out during the remainder of the year 🙂

Revisiting magical musical evenings with my new projector

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Dec 23, 2013 01:08

// some of you might know, I bought myself an early Christmas present a few weeks ago, in the form of a projector. I have had a projector at home before, for the TED evenings, but then it has always been a borrowed one, which I hence have had to return the day after. Now, I have bought one that I can keep also between the TED evenings, one that I “own”. Now in the last days, I have been using it to revisit some of the most magical nights in the musical history that I can dig up. Several of them have concerned my 27 year long project of learning and performing all the Beethoven sonatas for his anniversary in 2027, but I have also visited many magical nights given by some of my favourite pianists, many of which now are dead. The last one I looked at was the one in the video above, with Vladimir Horowitz. He gave this recital just 2 years before he died. Horowitz is one of my favourite pianists, perhaps my biggest piano hero of all, and I never got to see him perform before he died. But now, thanks to youtube and my new projector, I can not only see him play: I can see entire concerts just as if I was sitting on the front row, about a meter from his hands.

There are worse ways to await the final hours before Christmas arrives 🙂

Attraction – telling the story of their lives in shadows

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Nov 23, 2013 21:26

I don’t know if you know already, but this
year’s edition of Britain’s got talent was won not by a singer, as has
been the case previous years, but by a…shadow performance group from
Hungary! This illustrates so nicely that it is not the
of expression that decides how good a show is, but only ONLY the
quality of it. Our lives have some basic components – you are born, you
grow up and learn about life, you fall in love, dance, have sex and
kids, until one day you die and your kids take over after you – and
these components can be depicted in any medium you so desire. And when
it is done well, it is touching, because it touches those general core
components that exists within all of us.

The name of this group is “Attraction”, and in the above video you see their audition performance. In the below video you see their second performance, which is equally remarkable.

// discovered this group and these two videos for real only yesterday, and I am really happy that I did so. Not only because the videos are really touching, but because it is so inspirational to see how a group of inspired young adults can put their hearts and minds together into some devoted focused work to create something this remarkable and uplifting. And it doesn’t matter where they come from in the world. The only thing that matters is the quality of your creation, and the intent by which you put it out there to others.

About finding a new form: dance video with (dis)appearing dancers

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Aug 21, 2013 20:25

you encounter a dance group, or some other artistic group, that has
gotten a new idea that opens up a whole new type of expression, a new
form so to say. A little bit like when Jazz was discovered, or when
Beatles released their “Sgt Pepper” album, and everyone realized that you
can make an album where you are not only recording what the band is
playing on normal instruments at a single occasion, but that you on an
album can create new mixed sounds “off-stage”. Here is a dance group
that has done that: to have suits whose lights can be turned on and off,
to make individual dancers appear or disappear. After 2 seconds seeing
the video, you realize that: wow, why did nobody think of this before?
And then you know that you are going to see many tricks you never saw
before: because that simple idea opens up a whole new landscape of
possibilites. Enjoy 🙂

Today there are four really good concerts in the Linköping area

music, dancing, creativity Posted on Aug 15, 2013 13:04

If you live in the Linköping area, like classical music and/or jazz, and haven’t yet discovered Östergötland’s Musikdagar, and the Linköping Chamber Music Festival, now is a good time to do that. Reason: today alone, there are four really good concerts you can choose between. A short summary of them are as follows:

kl 19.00 Vadstena Klosterkyrka Kvartett för tidens ände

Messiaens gripande mästerverk. Medv: Ringborg, Wahlgren, Derwinger, Mårtensson

Entré: 100 kr. Under 25 år: gratis

This first concert takes place in the wonderful cathedral of Vadstena, which is a town nearby Linköping, which somehow embodies both spirituality, culture, and the beautiful small town idylle of Sweden. The piece they will play is a piece written by the French composer Messiaen when he was imprissoned in a concentration camp. I have never heard it, but it is supposed to be a one-of-a-kind piece of music, and I will listen to it tomorrow, when it runs in Linköping

kl 19.00 Kapellet i Slätmon, Rimforsa Prosecco Sprudlande musikmix

Fransk-italiensk barockblandning. Per Gross, blockflöjt mfl

Entré: 150 kr. Under 25 år: gratis

This second concert takes place in the probably newest chamber music place in the Linköping area: in a chapell outside of Rimforsa. You can go there by bus, which I will do. The house is owned and run by an indirect friend of mine: Pelle Hansen. He is the sister of a violinist that I know since many years back, and we played all three of us many many years ago. Now he has grown hugely as a musician, and – more importantly – he has found this place nearby where I live, and want to do chamber music there. This is of course extremely interesting for me, who often feel a bit lonely as a performing chamber music enthusiast in this area. Since I run in to him yesterday, after hearing a little bit of the programme, and also got a personal invitation – I simply cannot miss the chance to see this new place, and see what potential for wonderful music it might contain.

kl 19.00 Wallenbergsalen, Linköping Två själar – fyra händer

En helkväll med pianisterna Per Tengstrand och Shan-Shan Sun.

Musik av Brahms, Schubert, Fauré, Schnelzer, Kapustin.

Entré: 200 kr, under 25 år: 100 kr

This third concert, which takes place at the same time as all the others, is run in Linköping city. It is the inaugural concert of the grand piano that I mentioned in a previous blog. This concert is recorded by Swedish Radio, P2, and I will therefore listen to it then. In any case, it is for four hands, by the world-touring pianist couple Per Tengstrand and Shan-Shan Sun. Per is one of the few (two?) living Swedish pianists who already have accomplished the project I am embarking on: to learn all of the Beethoven sonatas for piano solo.

ca kl 22 First Hotels lobby Spontanmusik med festivalens artister. Fri entré

This last concert takes place later in the night, and it is in my favourite concert: spontaneous music in relaxed circumstances, by really top-notch musicians. It is really similar to my tradition of music soirees, even though it is in a smaller format (shorter, less musicians, no food, etc). I can really recommend it. I think, this evening it will be – among other things – music by a guitarr duo.

More info on all of these things can be found here. (side note: I used to be the web-master of this music festival)

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