Sunday, September 16, 2012

Everybody's Doin' It

When people describe their childhood piano lessons they invariably make a face connoting utter tedium, then describe rituals of meaningless repetition--no need to go further, I'm sure.

I recall my bafflement on hearing other children play the piano--children who were far more dutiful in practicing than I ever was:  "Am I supposed to sound like that?" I wondered.  A few years ago my singer/songwriter/improviser daughter told me that she had experienced a similar questioning as a child. 

Then there was Myra Hess.  I was given a ticket to hear her play three Mozart concertos with the Chicago Symphony.  She didn't do anything right: the beats were irregular, the scales uneven.  What was that about?

That raises a new, not frequently asked question:  Given the current standardization of classical music performance, would anyone alive now give her the time of day?