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Rachmaninoff and Mozart walk into a bar...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Yeah, I was never good at telling jokes.

So I'm working on "Rondo Alla Turca" from "The Ruins of Athens" by Mozart, and "Prelude in C# minor" by Rachmaninoff. I finally finished Beethoven's "Fuer Elise" and the first movement of the "Moonlight Sonata." Please excuse me for uttering the following sacrilege, but I cannot STAND Beethoven. There, I said it. I'm not taking it back. I know that pianists are supposed to worship Beethoven. You know, because he wrote ten million sonatas and all this other mess for piano, and he's the first true freelance composer/musician, yada yada yada, 9 symphonies, blah blah blah, I'm a classically trained musician so I'm required by law to worship him and everything he wrote. Well you know what? Beethoven can kiss my organic stone-ground heirloom blue corn grits. It's that typical Teutonic angsty hubristic hipster nonsense that makes me want to toss beer in someone's face and insult their livestock just to start a rollicking pub brawl. "Oooooh look at me, I'm Beeeeeeeethoven! I'm writing repetitive triplets to give the pianist carpal tunnel! You cannot possibly be subtle enough with the dynamic inflection because you are not an artistic genius like I am and do not have as much existential Weltschmerz as I do and do not count out exactly 60 beans every time you make a cup of coffee! Ooooooh!" (Feel free to read that with a German accent, by the way.) I'm fairly confident he'd have a few choice words about my playing capabilities and artistic expression, but he's daisy chow and I'm not, so there. And you know what? I have a sneaking suspicion that my piano teacher feels the same way. But I won't tell if you won't.

Rachmaninoff, on the other hand, is a problem. I mean, I can't figure out where to put all my fingers yet because I have to cross over and around and through. I'm afraid I'm going to end up like Bugs Bunny when he plays and all his fingers tie in a knot. Ah, Rachmaninoff. He writes like a dangerous man, a man your mother would warn you about, and you ignore her and follow him anyway, and you leap into it whole-heartedly only to be torn to pieces, but you get up and do it again because it's SO. INTENSE. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I feel about Rachmaninoff.

And then there's Mozart. Clean, clear-cut, with an element of sass. I imagine that if Mozart were alive today, he'd be the biggest sci-fi nerd and would probably dress like Captain Kirk for ComicCon and try to get the phone number of every single girl dressed like Princess Leia whether they were single or not.

So yeah, piano lessons are going well, and she hasn't pushed the issue about any public performances, the thought of which give me the heebie-jeebies. Which of course means that I'm going to have to do a public performance because it's silly to be that afraid of something that isn't going to kill me.

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  • PROT358
    While I disagree with your take on Beethoven, I thoroughly liked your impersonation. Especially "daisy chow"!! I used to have that opinion of Mozart, of all people. I thought he sounded uppity and way too cheerful. So I say suspend judgment, because I bet something Beethoven will take you by surprise and make you rethink things.

    By the way, I read Rachmaninoff wrote that after the death of a friend when he was only 21 years old. I don't remember the source so I could be wrong. That song is a beast! Good luck!

    P.S. You might also check out Rachmaninoff elegy in E flat minor at least on youtube. I think you'd like ;)
    1669 days ago
    I get such as charge out of reading your blogs! As a NON-musical person (well, I confess to owning an accordion, but that hardly counts...) I'd never given much thought to the personalities of the composers that must come through in their music. THANK YOU for your insightful take on Rachmaninoff, whose music I've always enjoyed. Now I understand why!
    1669 days ago
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