Thursday, June 4, 2009

After hearing an extraordinary performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde I have been thinking about one of my favorite topics: drunkenness in music.

What does drunkenness have to do with the piano? To which I can only reply: "Precisely." Though the piano has come to be associated with what one adult called "obedience mode" it was not always thus. Why should any musical instrument from any culture be always and only about good behavior and doing things by the book?

Just yesterday one of my young students caught on to the playful aspects of control over loud and less loud, short and not-so-short in a John Field Theme and Variations. She was beaming with delight at the discovery of her potential to make magic with a piece on which she has been working for months. It's not quite drunk yet but definitely headed in the "right" direction.