Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Piano sex

Here is one of the more unusual piano pieces that was played last night.  It might take a minute or two to work out how it was played.  


They were both marvellous concerts, and if you're in possible distance of the Aldeburgh Festival, start hunting for return tickets, do, because you're missing a great treat.  It doesn't matter if you don't already know and love the specific music of the programme, soak up the atmosphere, learn and let yourself grow.

In the afternoon, I was quite close to the clarinettist, and I watched his score and his fingering, and I realised that I could, at one time, have played the Schubert piece.  Not for the first time, I regretted having let slip a pretty good level of ability.  I had worked hard, but then I was too busy and stressed and let it go.  I might have carried on if I'd ever joined an orchestra or a small music group at the least, but ... oh, I don't know,  I thought about it and if I'd ever received a specific invitation I might have acted on it, but it was the awful inevitability of a performance that put me off.  I just don't like it.  My mother brought me up not to show off, and it still lingers, the feeling that it's vanity that makes an amateur want to play in public, whether for money or praise.

There is no logic in this, in that I have often attended and enjoyed performances from amateur musicians, but - oh, it feels all wrong for me.  So I never joined any sort of group and now I would need a year's practice to get anywhere near the standard I used to be at.  

The evening concert was a delight.  The pianist, who is also the Festival's artistic director, said a few words about each piece before playing it.  He is French, speaks English with a slight accent and was entirely charming.  After the interval, which seemed to be on time, he spoke at greater length.  The Cage, 4'33", he explained at some length - it's in three movements apparently, who knew?  As he said, they're remarkably similar to each other.  He concluded by saying that there are many different ways to perform this piece, by letting it speak for itself, for example, or maybe by playing another piece at the same time, whether by John Cage or by another composer - or, you could explain the piece to the audience.  Most of us had twigged by this time, but when he glanced down at his watch, the hall erupted into applause and laughter.

After that, he became really expansive, responding to an audience who clearly loved him, with the result that the concert overran by 45 minutes.  Not that anyone cared.  

A revelation to me was the realisation, when The Banshee was played, how feminine a grand piano is.  Seeing him delve into the innards of the wide-open grand piano was a surprisingly intimate experience.  I don't say erotic, but it was certainly sensual - well, that's what I found, anyway.  

6 comments:

LX said...

You had me at the post title.

Tim said...

I love the Banshee! 2'28" is exactly right. And how could they tell that the concert overran by exactly 45'00"? Surely time was suspended?

63mago said...

Corea and Hancock once played around with the great pianos a bit.

dinahmow said...

Oh! Once again, my timing is out...would have loved to see/hear this one.
Never mind, perhaps someone will persuade *you* to play a little something at your party...
see you soon

janerowena said...

Performing in public for me was a huge leap, the first time. I shook throughout. Now I think nothing of it, other than hope I don't trip or drop my music. But you do it all the time, without realising - you play the organ and the clarinet in church. You know how important it is to just keep going. I think U3A has an orchestra or music group in the Diss area, maybe there's one in Norwich. You just need to get back into practising new pieces.

Z said...

Luring you in, LX!

Time had no meaning at all, Tim, though I was glad I'd remembered to take a cushion. But the sign at the door did say the concert was due to finish at 9.45 and it was 10.31 when we left.

Splendid, Mago, thank you - I wish I still had my grand piano, I'd be having a try myself.

No chance, Di, and I trust you're joking!

Today's post, J, thanks for the idea.