Sunday, November 24, 2013

Radical Hearing: Arjomand / Mozart

The piano is a radical invention, always was, always will be.  Attempts to make it less than radical are doomed to fail.  Ask any child.

It is a matter of the conflicting resonance of white vs. black keys.

The piano is an instrument of collision, in a very vivid way.  Its acoustical nature is so complex that composers writing for it as a solo instrument tended also to write for it in combination with instruments of other families--strings, woodwinds, horn.  The specific genius of these compositions has reinforced my conviction that what I sensed as a child in the piano music of Mozart is truly the essence of the instrument.

I think primarily of Schumann: The Piano Quartet, the Fantasy Pieces, without which I would have only a limited understanding of the instrument I play.

Then there is Arjomand, a contemporary, illuminating the action of listening to this radical sound by being more than radical himself.  I will go back to hear him again and again because he makes me aware of what I am hearing and because he does so in entirely non-static terms, non-static in the most literal sense of constant motion.