Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, Mr. Paganini

Yesterday I labored, it being Labor Day, on my labor of love, which is the massive tome I am finishing up. Taking a YouTube break I found the video up above.

I would love to see more videos like this one! Well, it is not exactly a video, it is a set of performances by a bunch of piano aces of "Paganini," the knuckle-busting piece from Schumann's "Carnaval." I play this piece! So for once anyway I know what I am talking about.

It is fun just to sit back and listen to one after another and compare and contrast.

Guess which one I like!

Ha, ha! I am sorry, No. 7 is just superior, no way around it. But there are others I like. Barenboim's has a good excitement about it. There is something I hear often in Barenboim's playing that can get on my nerves which is, he fools around a lot with tempos and dynamics. I have this CD of him accompanying Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in a lieder recital -- picked it up for a quarter at a recent library sale -- and it drove me crazy, I just could not listen to it. Well, apparently Fischer-Dieskau was fine with it, so who am I. But still.

What I am getting at is, this thing about Barenboim's playing, this "listen to me" kind of thing, it works to his favor in "Paganini." I think it is because the piece is supposed to be about a self-centered virtuoso.

Anyway, lots of fun, this video. And great work avoidance on an onerous Tuesday.

When you are through contrasting Mssrs. Barenboim, Rosen and Pennario, you can avoid more work by watching this great classic clip of Ella Fitzgerald.

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