Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Jorg Demus' classic master classes

Ever since we discussed Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's spooky Loewe ballads, I have had the pianist Jorg Demus on the brain.

He gives some great master classes on YouTube and they are criticized.

People say he has a bad temper. There was one where I read that he was mean to women.

You know what? I watched the video and what happened was, Demus said to the young woman pianist something like, "You can show your great love for Maestro Demus by playing it now again without moving."

Things got better, but then he said, "If you loved me passionately, you wouldn't move a single bit, like a marble statue."

Man, you just cannot make a joke, you know?

It does not sound to me as if he has a bad temper. He just gives you your money's worth. You take a master class from a master, you expect fireworks. It is like when I went to Confession after a million years, I needed the priest to be a little stern with me.

Useful info from this master class, by the way: Maestro Demus says to find a tempo in which you will not have to slow down when you get to the tough parts. Find a balance there. That is a good thing to keep in mind when you attack something challenging.

Jorg Demus is not a name known to the general populace but if you were a classical music nerd in the '80s, which I was, you probably had this album he made with the soprano Elly Ameling. It was called "Schubertiade." I listened to it so much I have it in my head. Demus accompanied Ameling on all these beautiful songs, like this one. He also played Schubert waltzes and he played them sweetly, on an 1800s fortepiano.

I had the album and I actually had friends who had the album, too.

And guess what, there is a Jorg Demus Festival. It is in Freiburg. God love the man, he is 90 this year. And by the way I am listening right now to that song I just linked to, Ellens Gesang I. It gives me shivers. Beautiful. Elly Ameling was excellent, a superb singer. That and, that song gets to me, always.

Anyway, I salute Jorg Demus, whatever his master class style. To top off my admiration I have a picture of him with Leonard Pennario. Leonard was laughing at me because I was not half as interested in the pictures of him with movie stars as I was in the picture of him with Jorg Demus.

I could barely recognize Jennifer Jones but, "That's Jorg Demus?" I said. "I have his great Schubert album. Wow. Pass me that picture."

Now I am going to watch the rest of that master class.

And apply what I learn!