Saturday Songs and Stories

Can we talk about making room for a moment, and also, how big of nerds musicians are?

Note: I grew up in a house wherein my mom taught piano for three hundred hours every day, and my step-dad was (and still is) a professional trumpet player and teacher, so you know, we grew up flush with cash, is what I’m saying.

The piano’s keyboard seems enormous, until you get to a duet, and then, that little cushy bench becomes a little hazardous. Add a third person (why though) and it’s worse. Add another after that–and you’re probably playing Lavignac’s Galop-Marche, which is kind of tacky and kind of cheesy and absolutely wonderful.

Here’s four pianists at one… or two pianos.

I’ve found three recordings I like, and have put them all in this post. This piece is frantic and manic and hits that sweet spot of, “Is this guy serious?” All in all, it lends itself to comedy pretty well–even if we’re trusting musicians to do what they think is funny.

Here’s twelve pianists at one piano playing it.

I think I like this the same way I like amateur wrestling and drag shows–there’s something intentionally out of place here, an invitation to participate in the absurd, even as an audience member. What does it mean to pause and gesture for a man to come out–I’m assuming he’s the big name at this recital of beautiful people dressed in black–and then run in a circle to play a chromatic scale?

Dare we just have… fun, sometimes? Do things just for joy?

Eight pianists, 2 pianos–performed by eight champions

Don’t we need these invitations to the absurd, so that we do not take ourselves too seriously? Not always, surely, but every now and again?

I struggle in these times, because I am an absurdist. We need to have serious, intentional conversations and take good hard looks at ourselves and make lasting, systemic changes. And I do not wish to distract from nor detract this important work.

But also, we will destroy ourselves if we cannot access the resilience that comes from the occasional pause for joy. Breathe, friends. Get on the floor and play the trill, just for a second. And then go back to Chopin and Rachmaninoff and Bach, please–the world needs it.

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