Sunday, March 7, 2010

Impromptu Drawing / Liebestoding

Today I gave a little talk for a group of opera supporters on the subject of piano and opera - kind of a wide-ranging look at opera's influence on the piano, piano repertoire that incorporates opera tunes, and the whole big, wide world of piano reductions for opera. I hadn't even realized until about a week ago that the talk was given the title "The Piano's Voice," but when I was tossing together a little packet of handouts today, I suddenly decided I needed a good "piano's voice" image. Unfortunately, I was at a school computer with no good graphics program, so I whipped out Sketchbook Pro on my Tablet PC and drew this slightly disturbing something:

Oh, I forgot to mention that I can't draw. But, I didn't really have time to worry about such details - and, to be fair, the image was used as a sort of backdrop for a title page, so there were some words floating across it. So, yeah, it's a piano singing. Um...let's just move on.

Even more insane: less than 24 hours before the talk, I was reading through Liszt's arrangement of the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde and decided I should play it. It was love at first sight-read. I couldn't stop playing it and decided it would be fun to end my talk with this amazing bit of piano-as-orchestra-ness. So, play it I did, and it actually went OK. I don't really know what it sounded like, but I was having the time of my life. Although the talk went fine, the experience reminded me that I'd pretty much always rather play the piano than talk - even when I don't really know the music. After all, not knowing the music didn't stop Ervin Nyíregyházi.

That has to be one of the most insane performances ever, but it is thrilling.

This one is just as thrilling - and a bit more coherent.

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