Saturday, June 12, 2010

Da da Da da Da da Da da da da DUM

Friday, Alli asked me if I wanted to go do something boring as we were driving around the steel mill. Not boring to her of course, but presumably boring to me. What is it, I asked, fearing I was roping myself into a trip to Best Buy, or gardening. Oh nothing, just a concert at Severance. A piano concert featuring two past winners of the Cleveland International Piano competition at one of the prettiest buildings in Cleveland. Why ever would I want to do that?

Note to all my friends - I will go see any kind of classical performance. I will go to the opera, the orchestra, chorale concerts, ballets. I love that stuff. A while back a friend of mine who plays with the Akron orchestra was giving away tickets to the group, and I had to remind him to include me. Is it because I always wear jeans? Seriously, any time people. I will drop what I'm doing. I like it more than I like you.

So we showered the gunk of exploring off, and drove to University Circle. I haven't been in Severance for ages, I forgot how small it seems inside as comparison to how big it looks on the outside. The foyer is all pinks and oranges, golds and blues, peacock. The hall itself is silver foil and pale pink, which sounds Barbie beach house, but only if Barbie was staying somewhere on the coast of England, circa 1918. Agatha Christie novels are written in places like this. Someone is getting murdered back stage as we speak.

When I was little, I took piano. For a while. I was kinda okay, decent. I knew how to play the mood in it, but I had stubby little hands and a 12 yr old's penchant for being spiteful to my mother, so I never advanced beyond Fur Elise. Eventually I stopped. The piano, which neither of my siblings really took to either, was sold. Now I go to visit Buddy, my only friend with a piano, and I desperately want to bang on the keys. Maybe someday when I'm older I'll get one myself. It will be my mid-life crisis. Well, my second mid life crisis. It will be like getting obsessed with quiches, something I may be decent at, but never artful. Point is, I am biased to the piano. I think people who play the piano well are secretly computers, but computers with souls, and are precursors to the race that will eventually take us to the stars.

The performers were this gorgeous Croatian girl, who came floating out in a dress made of diamond spider webs for the first part, the most beautiful dress I've ever seen, and an older Russian man who was the kind of guy upon which every suit looks a little hapless. She made wild dramatic faces and writhed her white shoulders, he made soulful puppy dog eyes and banged with fury. Martina Filjak and Alexander Ghindin, reminders that there are still such things as Eastern European families of artists, generational talent. Their page turners were absolutely terrified of them, hovering every five seconds, nervously trying to make their marks. When someone clapped too early, she held up her hand to stop them without turning from the keys. He wiped the sweat from his forehead as if he was just hitting another note.

She is not wearing the dress in that picture by the way. She changed for the second part, and though my camera finger was itching, I never got a picture of it. Something is going to have to give, I am either going to have to forgo societal rules and just start poking my camera everywhere, or I am going to have to get a really nice camera so I look like I have a reason beyond reproach.

There was some Chopin, which Alli loves. Ghindin did a Busoni interpretation of a Liszt interpretation of Mozart's Figaro which was fucking awesome and really funny/fun/warner brothers chase scene. They both did Rachmaninoff, which I think Eastern Bloc babies ingest in their milk. I discovered my new favorite composer, William Bolcom, and his From the Garden of Eden Ragtime Suite. There's a video of part of that below, not performed by Martina, but by another crazy pianist womanly genius with hands of lightning. The last piece on the program was Gershwin, which was the only actually boring part of the evening. But then they came back for two encores, and so it ended on more Rachmaninoff, which was a relief to everyone in the audience. No really, people were saying that as they left. Nobody likes Gershwin outside the movie theater.

Later, leaving the parking garage amidst the slow moving crowds of well dressed elderly, some lady in a straw hat gave us nasty looks, presumably for playing that awful rock music right after something so enriching. Dear lady, there's is room for everything, even your stupid hat.


  1. I never progressed beyond 'Turkey in the Straw' with my eight-year-old's stubby hands and general inability to keep time. 'Fur Elise' would have been way beyond me, I'm sure it requires both hands, and to me that's like rubbing my belly and patting my head. Can't be done.

    All these things to check out! Of course, the warehouses will come first.

  2. And of course I forgot to check the 'follow' button, so I must perform the dreaded 'double comment' maneuver.

  3. Oh, have you never been to Severance? Right, cause you're new here? Oh man, university circle is super pretty. You should have gone to Parade the Circle this weekend. Or go to the art museum's solstice party coming up.

  4. I might get that last line tattooed over my heart.

  5. New here, never been to Severance. Was planning on going to the art fest in Chagrin Falls this weekend, but I'm just taking a quick break from putting cubicles together at the office instead.

  6. It's always funny when people make assumptions of what people like and dislike... it's like where did you get this from? In any case I agree who would pass up a chance to go to Severance Hall? :)

  7. Maybe a robot? Or someone who watched a mad celloist kill their mother? Perhaps someone who is allergic to beauty?

  8. While in my private at-home listening, I gravitate to chamber music and almost always choose harpsichord over piano, I agree that piano in person is spellbinding. A friend (who, at the time, was an internet stranger) in London took me to see Murray Perahia last February and it was incredible. (If you ever go to London, tell me, and I will put you in touch with this friend -- he is a piano freak, and himself plays -- and he is a very frequent concert-goer and always happy to take along a guest.)

  9. Miss B - do not be surprised if 5 years from now I ask for your friends name. I will expect you to still be in touch with him out of courtesy :)


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