Monday, November 5, 2007

A Little Narrated Music

Once again I've probably managed to bury something good at the end of an endless post, so just in case you never got there, I recommend listening to this narrated version of the famous slow movement from Mozart's Piano Concerto, K.467. The narration is by a blind student pianist, Yegue Badigue, and he tells his tale over a recording of his own performance of the piece. Not only do I like that the story doesn't take itself too seriously; I also like that this was put together rather informally, in just one take. Of course, it helps that Yegue is a natural storyteller and that he had a good sense of how the music and narrative tied together. It was quite a sight to watch his fingers flying over the Braille he'd prepared as he scrambled to stay on track.

Speaking of informality, not only did I enjoy the apparent nonchalance of Julia Fischer and Gordon Nikolic in that promo video, but I felt a twinge of sadness knowing that they probably had to go through some more tedious retakes to turn the performance into a professional CD release. It's not that I'd necessarily want an album with mistakes left in or that I disapprove of hard work (well...), but the little imperfections in the posted video help me hear the music as spontaneous. Curiously, the same night I first saw the Mozart video, I happened to run across Daniel Barenboim playing Beethoven on PBS. Maybe it was just that the works I happened to catch weren't my favorites, but I never did find myself engaged by his playing, and I don't think the ultra-serious presentation helped. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to argue for all casual, all the time. I'll pursue this "too serious" business at greater length some other time.

And, more on the Sinfonia Concertante and gospel Mozart to come . . .

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