Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ideal Programming

Of course, there is no such thing.  Programming, like every other form of composition, is successful if it fulfills its creator's aim.

When Rubinstein played a recital it was almost always the second piece on the program that was the focus of his attention; in the case of all Chopin, the entire evening would be through-composed, revealing the pianist's deep personal connection to every piece.

I used to wonder why everyone didn't make programs like that.

I realize now that most people play in order to display virtuosity or to amuse, so that going to a recital is a bit like going to the circus.  I, too, enjoy the circus.

But I want my audience to have an experience of through-listening, an experience that is not available piecemeal or by drifting in and out of attention.

In the course of the past 16 months of steady solo performance I have arrived at my ideal program: I start and end pianissimo teasing the limits of audibility so that you will hear the one work in the middle that has been the focus of my attention for however long it took to "get it."