Yesterday I met up with Riley Tucker and boy did we have a great time together!
I had the pleasure of meeting Monica yesterday, it was a special honor to meet in person "pianolady,"
who has produced so many wonderful, characterful performances that are on the main site for everyone to listen to! It was really nice of her to pal around with me, have lunch and she even gave me a free ticket to the amateur competition! I was going to pay at the door otherwise
And it was special to meet on this day because it was the one when the music instrument of the piano was being celebrated in the city, CSO called it "Chicago Piano Day"
Yesterday was a day I will never forget, I hope I don't anyway
It was a day for piano enthusiasts (non-players) but perhaps specifically inspirational and target marketed for real-life players
. If only more members on the forum had the opportunity to see the performances Monica and I saw! Emanuel Ax playing a duet with David Hyde Pierce (Dr. Crane on Frasier
), Igudesman and Joo performing Ave Maria (it was like watching a piano lesson with a strict teacher, very funny) Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Alkan and his own work requiring virtousic technique (his paganni variations had it's funny moments), Jorge Osorio playing some masterworks of the concert repetoire (really excellent playing of chopin) and Gorden Cheng who I saw compete for the final round of the chicago amateur competition (finally I'm on topic
) and who Monica told me today won the competition. I'm almost not surprised
, his performances of a piece each by Mozart and Biscardi were truly incredible. The end of his Mozart was met by very loud cheers from the audience
What Monica said is true, though it is still sinking in--I met Marc Andre Hamelin yesterday and shook his hand! It is true, we engaged in small talk (something about the weather in Chicago
) but it was great to see him and his wife Cathy Fuller. To think, for the longest time, the closest I had gotten to seeing him was through Youtube videos..
After the amateur competition I had a listen to Etudes by Liszt and Rachmaninov performed by the well-known Valentina Lisitsa. Her ability to recall sheets and sheets of music with hardly any margin of error, totally memorized and with a range of expression was to put it simply, spellbinding
was totally beyond spellbinding
you should have been there Monica, she was spectacular.
Jeremy Denk gave some some great accounts of Ligeti's etudes. By the way he was moving while he was playing, you really could tell the music was a part of him. It was like he was channeling the spirit of Ligeti! He said he just released a CD of his Ligeti. Hmm, I might get that...
The finale was phenomenal. It was the tour de force
of the day. Imagine 8 pianos on the stage and 8 page turners next to each performer. Well that was the case for the first three pieces. The ride of the valkeries, a Hamelin arrangement of Maple Leaf Rag, a Rossini piece, there were up to 8 players playing together, like a small ensemble performance (there where only eight players but each one of the pianos was a grand, all for one. The final piece was Stars and Stripes forever by Sousa. How appropriate, a military march just in time for memorial day! For this piece, the conductor, Mei-Ann Chen didn't conduct eight players, but sixteen
! page turners turned into duetists! With 16 strong, it was quite a march! At one part of the refrain, the audience clapped along (Ms. Chen continued to conduct, ignoring them)
The piece ended, Mr. Ax introduced the performers and duetists and they left the stage. I went home in awe.
Still in awe