Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Enlightened Pianism, Enlightened Commentary

I'm always in favor of writers developing a wider palette of words to describe the art of pianists working in collaboration, especially in the delicate art of music reviews. Gone (for the most part) are the days of reading "Mr. X. accompanied ably, and with discretion.". The following excerpt from a Chamber Music Today review of a recital by tenor Stephen Costello and pianist Danielle Orlando in Kansas City deserves special mention for its language and imagery regarding the singer/pianist dynamic:
Orlando’s piano provided poignant contrast and astringency to counterbalance Costello’s warm singing. The effect was like that of a third-person omniscient narrator in a novel. Orlando’s piano: theotic; godlike; expressing an all-knowing perspective; telling us listeners things that the main character, Costello, does not know—things that that few mortals (or none) can fully know—the meaning of Life; the mystical depth and transcendence of True Love—short of attaining Buddhahood or assumption into Heaven. Through the piano, we appreciate what the human species feels like and how much we humans stand yet to learn, as this young male exemplar sings his account of, say, what Tosti says ‘Love’s Gift’ is. The almighty Piano has seen it all and knows Everything. The mortal singer is earnest and true, but has only learnt as much as his youth has so far afforded opportunities for him to experience.
Props also go out to CMT for starting the review by talking about the high level of collaboration between Costello and Orlando.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this makes me smile! I'm SO excited to start my masters in collaborative piano! This makes me even more excited. People actually care somewhere! I was always praised for my ability to be a great accompanist. I've always known what that meant, and someone who's worked with a poor accompanist can definitely appreciate it. But it's nice to know that "collaborative pianists" are finally being recognized as just that; pianists!