27 March 2007

bid the soul of Orpheus sing. . .

Sometimes the most gratifying evenings provoke the least commentary. There’s just not much left to say. I heard Richard Goode last night, playing Bach, Mozart, Brahms, and Debussy. A week or so ago I heard Alfred Brendel playing Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mozart. Both gentlemen look more like eccentric professors than like a source of seraphic sound. Goode especially seems sort of lumpy until his feathery fingers fly over the Debussy preludes. I was sitting several rows back, so I couldn’t hear his humming and muttering along with the music, though his lips were clearly moving and his feet were occasionally stamping. For Brendel I was in the front row, and soon realized he was the source of the weird humming. (I also noticed that he had band-aids on most of his fingertips – is that legal? Isn’t that like throwing a spitball or corking your bat?) I wonder if all pianists hum along. Maybe it’s a way of shutting the audience out and playing for himself, the true inner ideal audience. I had subscribed to the SF Performances piano series so that I could hear Ades last December, and afterwards I had nothing to say except More please – more, more, more, more. . . .

1 comment:

Vicki said...

I love how performing arts can transform people, or at least our view of people. Add to your list Mark Morris dancers who seem too large to move well, but end up being beautifully graceful, and countless students I've had over the years who just slogged along doing nothing, good or bad, to make themselves noticed in science, and then turn into something completely different at an assembly.