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May 21, 2008

Renaissance Man: Name That Tune

The Olympus LS-10.


Conde Nast Traveler stuntman Mark Schatzker is on a mad quest to make himself into a modern-day Da Vinci during a month's stay in Europe. So far Mark has "mastered" golf in Scotland, "excelled" at gardening in England, and "ruled" the kitchens of Paris. His next task: playing the piano in Vienna.

Contest: Can You Hear Mark?
Listen to the clip below of Schubert's Moments Musicaux. Part of the piece was performed by Albert Frantz, famed piano teacher. And part was performed by our very own "Renaissance Man," Mark Schatzker. The first five individuals to identify the portion (in seconds) played by Mark win a copy of the anthology The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys.


To enter, just Post a Comment.

Regarding my piano lessons, it seems I suffered from a wee bit of overambition. My first thought was to learn Schubert's Sonata in B-flat major, Schubert being my favorite composer, and his Sonata in B-flat major being my favorite composition. Albert Frantz talked me down off that ledge, bless him. But he couldn't talk me down off the Schubert ledge. So we settled on the third of his Moments Musicaux. A musical moment, I thought, ought to be something I can handle.

Well, I couldn't. It didn't take long for me to realize that a moment can seem like an eternity if you haven't played piano in ten years. I telescoped my ambition accordingly, then telescoped it two more times. Finally, in a piece that is ten lines long, I attempted to master one and half such lines. But even that proved too tall an order.

The thing is, I wanted to record something. So I'm pleased to report that technology has sort of made that possible. Here's what happened. In the Bosendorfer Studio, I positioned my Olympus LS-10 digital recorder--the best recording device I have ever used in my life--right in the mouth of a $290,000 concert grand. Albert Frantz played the entire piece. He played it cold, with hardly anything in the way of practice, and it sounded lovely. Next, I played my one-and-a-half-line moment-within-a-moment. Or, more precisely, I hacked my way through one or two bars at a time.

Albert took the sound files home and endured a marathon session of clipping and pasting and smoothing and altering and re-altering of tempi. In the end, he was able to insert my moment into the larger moment. And it doesn't sound nearly as bad as I would have imagined.

The question is, can you figure out which part is me and which part is Albert? To enter, just submit your answer via the Post a Comment link below. The first five individuals to come up with the right answer (in seconds) win.

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:56 - 1:10ish?

1:27 to end (1:55ish)

0-20 seconds

1:23 to 1:42

1:53 to the end sounds about right.

i'm going to have to go with the opening as well...0-20.

I would say 0-25

Better late than never. 20-30 seconds.

click to post a comment >

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The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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