Life According to Piano

A Rant

My blog, my place to rant. And do forgive me! (Or just don’t read.)

So (universal beginning-of-story indicator), a friend on FB linked to a video of a talk by some famous musician in which the famous musician is inspiring his audience to love classical music.

I watched that video and I was enjoying it. The famous musician (from here on out identified as FM, since it’s unfair to name him when I can’t discuss all this with him directly) chooses a very famous piano piece, Chopin’s E minor Prelude, to entice his audience into loving classical music. He plays a few measures, points out some of the structure that is happening, gets the audience to sing part of the melody, summarizes the structure of the entire piece, talks about the intense feeling of the music, encourages his listeners to make a personal connection to that intense feeling by thinking of someone they have lost. It’s all interesting, enlightening, even inspriring.

And then he plays the prelude. And it’s horrifying.

Okay, maybe I’m just a snob. But I do think that when a piece is marked Largo, even intense feeling (espressivo) doesn’t mean that the upbeat-to-downbeat goes very slowly and then the rest of the measure rushes along four times that fast! On every measure. I’ve heard the prelude performed this way before, and every time it sounds anti-musical to me—disrespectful to the music, the composer, the listeners.

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