Saturday, March 22, 2014

Master Class

The other day I wound up watching this master class taught by Jorge Bolet, a pianist I like. This is funny, I always said Bo-LAY. It is not as if his name came up in conversation a lot, you know? So I did not have a lot of practice hearing it or saying it. But anyway, in that clip, the British announcer says right away, very matter-of-factly: "George BOL-let."

George BOLLet it is.

A couple of things about this video. The kid is obviously very good, playing the Rach 3. While he plays it is fun to watch Bolet restlessly pacing around in the background. Pacing, thinking, brooding about what Rachmaninoff intended, what Rachmaninoff had in mind, how we may do honor to Rachmaninoff's vision. That is what Bolet is thinking.

Periodically he stops the kid. And this is the best: He tells this story at one point. "It is like the farmer, who was going to the market and ...."

And this kid's face is just this blank. He's looking at Bolet and you can tell he doesn't have the foggiest idea what this old mustachioed guy is talking about. He just knows he has to wait it out.

As Howard said, "You just have to eat it."

That is the truth, when you are a kid in a master class! You just have to take it. You have no choice.

I covered a master class once at UB that Leon Fleisher was teaching. Fleisher had stopped one of the kids and he launched into this sing-songy talk about Schubert and the maid of the mill. He returned to the subject later. "Now, Schubert's maid of the mill..."

Much as I loved him for bringing up "Die Schoene Muellerin" I was there with my notebook thinking: Are you on drugs?

Do you actually think these kids have the foggiest idea what you are talking about?

Mill, Schmill!

Back to Bolet. I was seeing how many master classes there are on YouTube, more than a few by him. Bolet was very pedigreed in the teacher department. He had famous teachers and he felt he had an obligation to pass on what he learned.

Lucky for us, you know?

I am game!

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