This coming Monday BOZAR in Brussels will be hosting for 6 evenings in a row 12 extreme talented & young pianists. For the last 5 weeks these 12 have mastered & nurtured their talent. For the moment they are training for the last final stretch in order to win that one competition that is called in a way the Olympic event for piano.
Many might wonder what I have going on with events like this. No, I don't play a musical instrument myself. I tried but I did fail. That my sister is the most musical of my sibblings does not surprise me. My sister, who I still consider a very focused and sometimes subborn person in many situations, had the stamina that I did lack to get something decent audible out of a piano . The moment that she will start to play the piano (and unfortunately that does not happen as much as I would like to) I am a very envious person. Now believe me that she must have cursed that instrument once in a while. I did as well. Trying to study for a final exam while she was trying to get that one specific line right for the 100th time is not the best back ground music. Still, that my sister managed to finish up her musical academic schooling I still consider a great accomplishment. One I do envy her for!
So people who play a musical instrument I do admire. In a way they are able to (re-)-create something in a split seconc. The music that they let escape out of their instrument can cause so many emotions. Music has got a power that I do treat with admiration and dignity.
No, you can't put me in one box when it comes down to music. I enjoy many genres of music. Yes, I do have a very strong tendency to like the past and I am fully aware that I don't go as wild for the music that my other significant loves but I do treat my classics with very great respect.
Why? Well, first of all it is the kind of music that my parents made me listen to and that has filled up the house were I grew up. I will never forget when I did for the very first time did hear 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' by Mozart or when my dad made me listen to 'the Sabre Dance' by Katchaturian. Yes, I loved my first time Rachmaninoff because that paino music had a very deep impact. My first walz I danced on the music composed by Strauss. And I still know where I was when I did for the first time did hear the first sounds of 'Spring' by Vivaldi.
Browsing through my father his gigantic collection of his LP collection always a magical time.
I also tried to predict what the music was about by looking at the cover of those discs. The cracking sound of them that then suddenly changed into music those were magical moments. Moments that I enjoyed many times on my own! That I then started to dance while nobody was watching was even more fun.
I always try to listen very attentively to music. Is also something I need to do when I am at ballet school in order to get in synch with my body movements. Last Saturday my kitchen filled up with Bach and that I was carried away to a different place then my sink I loved. That this piece of divine music was performed by one of the half finalist of the competition did not matter a great deal. It could be played by anyone but still this young talent did manage to create goosebumps on my skin and take me back to the essentials of music. I do prefer sometimes to listen to the candidates without seeing them. I go blind and let my ears and other senses take over. Something that I do consider essential to fully understand the power of music.
If a musician then manages to take me hostage then he or she has got an imense power. One that I will bow my head and close my eyes for. That it happened on a Saturday morning while I was unloading the dish washer and I did try to recuperate from 5 days abroad with lively year 5 students was a bonus.
Then there are the memories that I do cherish so greatly when it comes down to music. I am so grateful that my parents made me listen to music. 'Do you hear that?', my dad more then once would say. I have to be honest that I was not always there when he already had picked up the core of the piece. There have been moments that I had to listen more then once. Many things what he did hear I might never picked up because listening to music is also something very intimate. The musician allows you to embark on a very intense journey. There is a map avalaible of this musical journey but chances are likely that there will be delays, change or directions, detours, crashes, flat tyres and in some cases you might like to speed up the tempo when he or she decides that it is the only right direction to go with their musical instrument.
One memorable day still highlights that love I have for piano music. The day that my father in 1995 took me to a piano concencerto played by the winner Markus Groh. It was not only the breathtaking background of the castle of Hex, the lovely smelling rosebushes, the rays of sunlight that then reflected on the black and shiny grand piano and the goosebumps that I felt underneath my summer dress that afternoon that made it an unforgetable event. No, it was so much more. You were not there with me so it is hard to explain but still... My dad was sitting next to me and when I did once in a while got see his face and saw his eyes sparkle at moments that my heart made also tiny jumps of joy that made it such a special and unforgetable day.
A grand piano and a person who treats that instrument with care and makes it sound superb that is all it takes to make my soul coming alive. That I therefor can't wait for those 12 mortal souls to come out of the Chapel in Waterloo two by two in order to drive to BOZAR in Brussels, take one final deep breath, get on that an impressive stage, sit down and then let their fortunate fingers glide over those black and white colored keys in order to produce that one tone that they are after makes me long for Monday.
And no, once again, you do not need to agree with me when it comes down to music. It is useless to start that battle but all I wish to point out that classic music has given me already so much and that it is only thanks to very dedicated, motivated and people with great stamina and the will to succeed that I get to enjoy these incredible music moments. So already one big hand of applause to the twelve finalists, all the members of National orchestra and the very talented and focused conductor Marin Alsop for the 6 days that Brussels becomes the piano capital of the world. Yes, once a year at the end of May there is that one Monday that I can't wait to come! Is that understood?
Video 1: The impressive finger work of Markus Groh still impresses me. And then there is that focused look like he tries to tell that piano:'I can keep up with you!'. Yes, in my honest opinion I do consider these people athletes. They have to be mentally and physically in good shape! It looks like a piece of cake but it is not!
Video 2: For the Twilight community out there:Edward Cullen does know his classics quite well and that he can play the piano makes him an even more interesting book character. Robert Patisson can play the piano himself and did not need a stunt double to this one! ;-)
Video 3: Rachmaninoff! No more words needed! The music tells you all you need to know!