Archive for April, 2010

Emanuel Ax Dices Chopin at Disney Hall Like a Gourmet!

April 21, 2010

Never let it be said that way down here in the hinterland of Southern California, we don’t appreciate our pianists. Last night at Disney Hall Emanuel Ax gave us all a slice of Chopin and Schumann’s souls. There are so many glorious reasons to make the mid-week drive to the city not the least of which is the ultimate aural treat.

We have seen Ax perform three times now in as many years, each time under the honied woody beams of Disney Hall. Forever on, I shall think of him as “The Ax Man.” The ultimate pianist who should play Steinway’s under a strong spotlight center stage — everywhere.

Ax makes me think: “What was the first chord?” “Who deemed what sound should mean what? How to connect it to us with some great unseen consciousness. Who first deemed how ardor should be interpreted. Would that I could have been there, the proverbial fly on the wall, in that room at that moment. When that first ivory was fingered and caressed and played.

Ax appears to be a modest and bashful man. This is his way of making love to that which he can never possess. Chopin’s sound. The resonance in his head. To play joyfully is but to slow life’s sorrows. How lucky he is and we are to reach all the way back to Schumann or Chopin through Emanuel Ax, to touch their collective souls in all their glory to their depths. Do we need to know the “original” story in order to add to that our own? Our note-able goulash, cuisine appropriate for Disney Hall. Is that what makes our heart resonate? And do the feel what Ax feels, what Chopin and Schumman felt? Does it matter? Why is this replication of an historical sound important to the lot of us in our soft deometrically patterned seats? It strikes me as important to know who rendered the first note. Is the music lovelier for what we bring to it or is Ax a solid filter and conduit to the clear old sounds of love and whimsy, illness and what we might now call mental illness? Schumman’s, of course. Unless we are all bound by invisible piano wire. Willing listeners who have come great distances to hear Chopin, Schumman, and Ax. His interpretation: life’s raw slivers deserve to be heard. A magician in piano man’s garb. Why did he summon us there with promises of sounds that would break us to our knees? Perhaps to see what he sees, the magic he conjures, the sheer beauty of the heart and all the rest we cannot see but palpably know is there.

To feel you must first look, then see inside.

To live, you must feed the soul.

From Huntington Beach, that’s me, Adrienne Parks signing off. Think outside our little boxes, outside our individual universes, let you overlap me and me you.

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