Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rolling in the Magic Carpet

Does this sound a bit x-rated?  :)  It's not; those of you who have read my older post entitled Magic Carpet might know what I maybe talking about.

Recently I attended a concert of a fantastic performer who presented a huge repertoire, truly a tour-de-force performance.  It was just impressive.  The performer was most competent, musical, and delivered the program with utmost integrity.  The concert was packed with select audience, many of whom were composers and fellow performers such as myself.  It was truly a treat.

I knew very little of these pieces; there were famous and familiar composers but it was not my instrument.   In fact most of the composers on the program were those whom I admire and respect immensely, however I never quite *loved*.   That's why I was taken by surprise that one of the pieces completely charmed me, works by my "respectable-but-not-lovable" composer.

The work in question was written quite early in the composer's career, therefore retained the early musical influence.  But I didn't think that was why.  The mark of the composer's voice was unmistakably already there in this early work.  I don't think it is because the work sounded rather "conservative" compared to the composer's later work, that I liked it.  There are works of similar style that I really don't care for.

The performer chose this work for whatever reason, but to me, the performer was so comfortable playing it, riding effortlessly on the Magic Carpet.  In fact it was so effortless that I didn't feel like the performer was playing the instrument, but rather flying or rolling around in it.  The performance was that spectacular that it made me forget which instrument the music was coming from.

Other works on the program were delivered by the performer with equal rigor and perfection.  But this piece I described in particular I thought, was just perfectly done.

Now, I must be careful; I am not saying that the performer didn't deliver other works as well as this piece in question.  But there are at least two possibilities.   1)  Indeed the performer was at most comfortable and indeed loved this particular work, therefore the Magic Carpet was flying.  That's why I, who doesn't really *love* this composer usually, loved this work.   2)  It was this particular work itself allowed the performer to ride, or roll in the Magic Carpet, whereas other works on the program didn't, nor the same composer's later works that I don't particularly love.

I was deciding it was 2), that it was the work itself which was better than others.  That would be the easy answer.  But the question is, how if it was 1) ?    If it was the first possibility, that every performance I've heard of any composer that I never cared for, were not performed by those who weren't comfortable enough to fly the Magic Carpet?  Have I been robbed of appreciating all these pieces?   That would be truly sad, and makes me feel the obligation as a performer.  Note to self....

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