a non-ode to this wintertide
by pieces of moments
Um. Okay. So it snowed again last night. Again. What is this winter-y purgatory? And get this – it is to snow more this afternoon from a whole other storm system! A true double whammy! Sheesh.
So, since basically I have been assailed by nature more times than I can possibly manage to track this wintertide it is inevitable (n’est pas?) that it is always on my mind. Thus, today I found myself pausing for a moment to ponder Chopin’s Etude op. 35, no. 11 “Winter Wind”.
I have a great recording of it played by Murray Perahia, but wanted to scope out alternate takes on the piece. So, I did the first thing any musically inquisitive mind of my generation does: search YouTube (right? you know you do). There I found more amateur videos then professional (keep practicing, kids!), but did bump into Sviatoslav Richter’s rendition. Have I mentioned how vehemently and ardently I despise Richter?! I find myself speechless with sheer disgust. Sick. If I could revoke his performance license (posthumously) I so would. I’m not even putting the link up because I care about your soul that much. However, I did come across a very nice interpretation by a young Hungarian pianist I did not previously know. Anyone heard of Adam Gyorgy? He has quite a website that announces “Loading Adam” while you wait to enter, which I find pleasantly amusing for some reason…maybe because it hints at loading Eden?. I dunno. I don’t really dig his “popular” style side of business, but hey, live and let live, right? The most intriguing thing is his bio that begins with:
When Adam was a young boy, he drew everything upside down. His worried parents took him to a doctor. The doctor decided there was something wrong with him, but was unable to diagnose the problem. His father, who was determined to understand why his son was different, watched Adam carefully. One day he sat opposite Adam and asked him to draw a house. As the house began to take shape, Adam’s father realized that although his son was drawing the house upside-down, he was able to see it right side up. At that moment he realized that Adam was drawing everything in a way that best displayed his drawing to the viewer. This ability to see things from a different perspective was proof of Adam’s natural inclination to perform, and revealed a thoughtful regard for how best to communicate with his audience. Today, Adam communicates through his music in the same way as he drew as a child; with the understanding that the audience, the listener, is an active participant in bringing the music to life.
That’s kinda awesome, right? It reminds me of what Salman Rushdie said in answer to the proverbial “audience question” when I heard him speak a while back. You know, that “do you write with your audience in mind?” question. Anyway, Rushdie replied that when he was young his attitude was “screw the audience – I write for me” but now he approaches his work thinking of how a reader processes the information he is writing (which is totally different than pandering to audience). A good balance, I believe.
So here’s Gyorgy’s footage. The beginning is oddly spliced cutting off the beginning awkwardly. Also note the ending where the audience does an old school CCCP type unison applause. As far as his performance goes, I rather like the slightly slower tempo. I’m diggin’ slower tempos lately. What does that mean? Hmmm.
So here is the so-called “Winter Wind” etude that functions as my non-ode to wintertide. Adam Gyorgy, pianist.