Monday, August 3, 2009

As I am a great admirer of Anderszewski's playing I hope you will understand that I refer to him from time to time. He is the kind of player who gives one courage to listen for oneself. When he plays it is as if he is hearing for the first time.

I find that less true of his Bach performances but then, Bach did not compose for the piano; the relative cool may reflect Anderszewski's instinctual response to that music's detachment from the sensual sound of his native instrument. The same music played on the instrument for which it was written--a harpsichord or clavichord not tuned in equal temperament--is deeply and exquisitely sensual. When I was too young to know anything about temperaments the distinction caused me nightmares. This is why I do not play Bach on the piano except on rare private occasions.

I saw the film Unquiet Traveler, available on DVD, about Anderszewski, in which he is heard playing, singing all the roles in The Magic Flute and commenting on quite a range of music.

He is not a sentimentalist. His use of the word "drunken" describing Chopin's Barcarolle is absolutely brilliant. I often characterize difficult pieces with melodies in thirds as drunken: two guys out on a toot after a bit too much to drink sing just like that, at least they do in Eastern Europe. I've heard it.

There is a loose fearlessness, recklessness, that comes with inebriation. Try it.