Saturday, January 02, 2021 4:03 AM
Tureck Concert (2021Jan02)
I surfed into the ARTS channel (165 on N. West.’s Optimum ‘grid’) and they got me in my soft underbelly—first with footage of Wanda Landowska playing Bach excerpts on a double-keyboard (including the middle movement of Bach’s keyboard transcription of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D major—a lifetime super-favorite). The ARTS channel can make you want to cut your heart out for missing the beginning of some recordings…this one was from 1953 (three years before I was born).
Secondly, playing Rosalyn Tureck, performing Bach’s ‘Goldberg’s (‘excerpts’, again, of course—god forbid we take the time, eh?) Now, this hit home. Not only was Ms. Tureck the mentor of our shared, Croton Falls piano teacher (and erstwhile piano virtuoso) Muriel Brooks, but Claire and I had a memorable date once, going to see Rosalyn Tureck at Lincoln Center.
In the late ‘70s, Rosalyn Tureck was reaching the tail-end of her career—time passes, but she was still a marvel at the keyboard. The idea of this concert was to attract Bach fanatics such as Claire and I: it would be a recital of the Goldberg Variations on harpsichord, followed by a ‘dinner interval’, and continuing to a piano interpretation of the Goldberg’s, also by Ms. Rosalyn Tureck.
Do not take that lightly, please. I try to play piano—and I once had a great afternoon at Colonial Williamsburg, where the ‘harpsichord teacher’ let me take it for a spin. I am familiar with the superhuman demands of the keyboard—because I’ve spent a lifetime failing to capture the skill. When a performer plays a forty-five-minute baroque ‘musical mandala’ on the original harpsichord—it’s transportive. When she has the grace and the stamina to then sit down and replay the same piece—yet with all the added subtlety and phrasing demanded by the piano—that’s no ‘gimmick’—that’s an Olympic event.
Claire and I were transfixed by this live performance of our favorite work on harpsichord (as Bach would have played it). It was sublime. However, during the interval, the mundane intervened—one of the DuPont heirs had chosen the same restaurant for dinner. I had hoped to treat Claire to a very fancy dinner at this Swedish Smorgasbord restaurant, just across the street from the Center.
But it turned out that our seating was interrupted by the arrival of these Consumed-by-self-importance DuPont people—and we got maybe ten minutes to eat and rush back—while I was forever imprinted with a disgust for the ultra-wealthy—it’s a mental disease as much as a bank balance, trust me.
So, I guess Claire enjoyed the second part—for me it was darkened by shadow. It wasn’t just the insufferable attitude of the DuPonts—it was also the eager (‘though entirely understandable) toadying of the Maître de, et. al. That was the night I realized that Money does indeed ‘force’ some relationships. These relationships aren’t real—they are part of the business model.
And I have always felt that one should avoid any business that requires one to like a pig. It was surprising how absolutely impossible I found that tenet to stick to—the world is designed, not only to give the ones with the gold the ability to make the rules—but even to force the rest of us to smile at them—and talk to them. That just ain’t right. I don like it dat way…..