Saturday, May 26, 2007

Romantic pianists revisited

David writes

I did like reading that account on your blog - of course, for me Herrmann's score for Vertigo is unforgettable, because it is my favourite film AND the music is very blatantly written in homage to Tristan.  But I liked even more your friend's description of Louis Lortie and his various conversations about pianists.  It illustrates what I think I've said to you before, about how a person who is a trained performer experiences music in a way that people like me simply cannot (I think I discussed this when I went to a piano concert with Sally and Jeremy).  And I really must try to hear some Ades - I somehow keep missing concerts where he is on the programme, but I've heard so many wonderful things about him.  I had no idea he was Jewish.

Meanwhile I had written to Hassan

It would be splendid if you reached the stage where you felt you could put yourself forward for a masterclass.

This is the stuff dreams are made of. In truth, I only started playing when I got here, and according to your link on expert performance, I have 6 years left to go... Although, there was this very cool moment last summer that warms me up. I left my shades in a performance room earlier and came back to get it, but decided to start mucking around on the piano instead of leaving. A chap walks in and strolls around the room. I finish as far as I could get on Liszt's Un Sospiro, and ask if there's a class happening. He says, no, no, keep playing, so I play a la maniere de Borodine. He correctly identifies the piece as Ravel, but forgets which one. He tells me he composed something based off of the end of Ondine, and plays a bit of it for me, and that's when I learn he's a visiting professor assisting with a course for the summer. We talk about Ravel, and I mention that he's my second favorite composer (at the time), and who's my first, Rachmaninoff, and I launch into his (very overplayed) C# minor prelude. I go frenetic with the descending thirds at the end and give those fff chords at the bottom my entire body weight.

Well, when done he praises my playing. Dangerous words, they could give me fatal hubris, but the gist is he hasn't heard playing with that much emotion in many years, and that it's all gone nowadays. We talk a bit about how much I agree with him, and then he asks if I'd be interested in working with him, playing his compositions and whatnot. I say I would love to, and he takes my e-mail and phone number down.

This is one that I have kept in touch with, and I send him the odd e-mail
from time to time and I get alphabet soup messages back. I looked him up,
and he does happen to know some French chap called Boulez fairly well, in fact, he wrote a book about discussions they had on music.


Well, what can I say? I think of a colleague of Boulez's wandering into a practice room on the West Coast and being thrilled by a young pianist who explains that his favourite composer is Rachmaninov. How is it not possible to love this?

(OK, maybe the discussions were along the lines of : Look, Pierre, why can't you just write like Rachmaninov? )

1 comment:

hassan said...

Yes, Pierre, why can't you? :-)