Sunday, March 17, 2013

Haydn, Humor, and Storytelling

Having just finished a performance for a distinguished audience that included several pianists, I cannot help but comment on the prevailing view that Haydn is unbearable with two notable exceptions, the E-flat Sonata and the F minor Variations. 


I do not play  the E-flat Sonata: I don't get it.  The F minor Variations, ah, that's different.  But it's all that "simple" stuff that eludes comprehension.

Included on the program I just performed were Prokofiev's Music for Children and Schumann's Kinderszenen, which have a lot in common: Both are quintessential pianistic storytelling, "simple" only on the surface, full of the magic of the piano sound, imaginative in the extreme. 

Knowing that a big, bravura pianist was in the room made it only slightly more difficult to stay on track.   I was strengthened at every moment by my conviction that the power of the music is in its sound, not in its technical demands.