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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Music For The Loose In The Joints

Wilhelm Kempff playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 3rd movement.

He must be old there. Not sure when that was recorded, but it looks plenty recent, and he was born in Germany in 1895. He stopped playing in 1981 because he had Parkinson’s disease, which for a pianny player must be as horrifying as Beethoven’s deafness was to him. He died in 1991.

Eighty-ish and playing like that. Most people his age are carping about their allowance of prune juice in a home at that age. He was a German, and a European, and lived through WWI, WWII, and the the Cold War, and kept going. If our cable goes out for an hour we go on a four-state murder spree. Maybe we should buy pianos.

Watch him while he plays. He is not executing the music. He is extracting its essence. There are places where it’s not exactly sloppy — that’s the wrong word — but it’s loose in the joints. He feels it. Me too.

4 Responses

  1. I've always thought that part of being an old pro means that you know where you don't have to be precise, and yet you can still turn in a great performance.

  2. Hi everybody- Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    Peter- That's as good a description as I've heard.

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