Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A brave British pianist

The Liverpudlian pianist Paul Lewis, pictured above looking cagey, is in the Wall Street Journal today. I know, this violates my rule that holds that I talk only about musicians who are dead and irrelevant. And also I am not crazy about Paul Lewis' programming skills. The last three sonatas of Schubert, all on one program, too much, too much.

But I was impressed by something he said. Let me cut and paste, in case you cannot read it on the Journal's website. God love Lewis for speaking up, you know?

Unlike other pianists today, Mr. Lewis pays scant attention to newer music. "I'm cautious about my ability to commit to something that hasn't been written yet," he said of commissioning pieces. "I want to know what the music is first, because I have to be 100% with it. So that's why I'm reluctant. In recent years, I've played some Ligeti and delved into Kurtág every now and then. But it's not something I spend a lot of time in. Perhaps I should make more of an effort."

As John Otto, a dear departed Buffalo radio host, used to say: "Yes, maybe ... maybe not."

Why play that when you could play ...

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