Monday, July 28, 2014

Truly Difficult

Yesterday I heard two quite different versions of piano playing, polar opposites, one of the other.

First I heard a radically developmentally challenged, blind young man struggle to get a tune in one hand while playing off-beat chords in the other.  He so much wanted to do it:  he had tried many times in previous lessons without success.  Now he was clearly determined to get it right, so determined that he was willing to play wrong notes in order to master the off-beat impulse, which is difficult for anyone but supremely difficult for someone with his learning disabilities.

It was moving in the extreme to watch him try.  Once, twice, three times.  Then he got it.  Not only is the physical coordination demanding, but so is the amount of time required to pursue such an elusive goal.

I was deeply moved, as was he, and as was his sister, who was observing the lesson.

Later in the day I heard by chance a recording of a fine virtuoso pianist playing the Fountains of the Villa d'Este from Liszt's LesAnnees de Pelerinage.  Sorry, it left me cold.