Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If I pay money, even a lot of money, for a concert ticket and go home with a single sound that haunts me, wakes me in the night, and follows me around for days, I consider the concert a huge success.

The two young people playing Stravinsky yesterday made such a sound. They did it not once but twice--proof, I believe, that they really meant it. No one could have instructed them how to play that sound that way. It was the approach, the touch, the blend, the timing--every element of it was unforgettable. It woke me in the night and it is following me around today. And that was "just" a piano lesson.

How did they manage to do it? Each of them has been studying with me for years learning the aspects of music that "take too long," namely, sounds and the effect of sounds on the player and on the listener--me. When the sounds are the composition they move the player literally. They become the motivation behind the touch not as the result of any "interpretation" or "emotion," but because the sound is alive like an animal that invites physical contact of a very specific nature. Such responses are not abstractions and cannot be generalized much less verbalized. No wonder that when they occur they are unforgettable.