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. . . .