Thursday, February 26, 2009

'This song sticks in my head'

Just now with most of the world asleep I have been sitting here sipping my coffee and listening to performances of Prokofiev's Toccata.

I like this piece. It reminds me of a big tank, moving forward, inexorable and robotic. A big machine. All you have to do is hit the notes, which is obviously not easy, but once you do that and work out your staccato feel, the reward is that Prokofiev does most of the work.

Here is Lisa de la Salle playing it. I like Lisa de la Salle because her clothes remind me of my clothes. Also I love the idea of someone playing the Prokofiev Toccata in those shoes. I am sure Prokofiev would like that too.

That is Lisa de la Salle pictured above. She is only about 22 and has a great look.

Here is Prokofiev playing the piece, on a piano roll. It is kind of slow. I love how someone comments, "Someone needs to speed up the piano roll." That is an idea! But the problem could be that Prokofiev's chops were not up to the piece. That is what I have heard.

Here is a cool picture of Proky at the piano. That looks like my old piano from my old apartment!

I know speed and great chops are not the answer to everything. But I have to say that the Prokofiev Toccata is one piece I would love to hear over-the-top fast, I mean as fast as it can be and still be correct, which is of course the big challenge.

Martha Argerich's is pretty fast. Ha, ha! Look at the first comment: "This song is stuck in my head."

Now I am going to be really immature but I am sorry:

This really cracked me up.

I think it is Horowitz playing. But that visual treatment, you cannot beat it. Just the first three seconds, and I am laughing.

Let me tell you, this is something that sticks in your head.

1 comment:

  1. Here I go with "rain on the parade" time. The Prokofiev piano roll is interesting, but unacceptable as a document of his playing. I worked at QRS for a dozen years and became a close friend of and assistant to the chief arranger Rudy Martin. We both edited for release hand played celebrity rolls and reissues of old Duo-Art and Ampico rolls. Rudy and I both knew how much editing went into them to make them usable. The stories I could tell go beyond the scope of a comment here. For Prokofiev's own playing, I would scroll down in the link to the Suggestion Diabolique, recorded on a 78 rpm disc. It's authentic and his playing sounds secure and rhythmically taut. One of the clues of a problem with supposedly hand played piano rolls is slack rhythm. Tempos can vary between pianos too; tempo controls are not necessarily calibrated identically from one make to another... or one player piano to another. I imagine the modern digital record/ playbacks are a lot more accurate.

    Piano roll fanatics will hate this. Hope I don't ruin your and Howard's day. Sorry.

    By the way, I think the young Martha Argerich was the most erotic looking female pianist I ever saw!!