Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Like Beethoven, Perahia Prevails!

When one thinks of the deafness of Beethoven and the elemental power of tragedy that accompanied his consciousness, the name of Murray Perahia arises.
Perahia is now about 63 years of age, and is considered to be one of the handful of the living titans of the piano.
Perahia was born in New York City, and received important training in America, including his graduating from the Mannes School in New York. He also studied under various luminaries in the art of teaching, all of whom recognized an enormous pianist and musical intellect, about to pounce upon that defining moment; namely, world recognition.
Horowitz, also living in New York, who rarely evinced a critical view of his contemporary competitors, was quite unabashed in his professional recognition and personal fondness of the younger genius, and they became close friends; indeed, almost as if Horowitz may have considered him a kind of son, a son the great Russian master never had. Perahia visited the Horowitz home many times, and has openly discussed the priceless perspectives that Horowitz had endowed him with. As a matter of fact, I believe that Perahia was the last person to hear Horowitz play before the elder genius passed away the following day.
Now, as regards Perahia: a seemingly mundane moment turned his life upside down - I believe it was a cut on a thumb - I recall that it may have been a paper cut. The thumb became infected, and Perahia was given an antibiotic, which reacted violently, causing far greater damage to the thumb, shutting his career down. He did eventually recover enough to return to the concert stage, and he resumed his magic.
I believe that a recurrence of this thumb problem appeared again, in 2005; however, he is now back and continuing his great career.
I have become rather puzzled by all this, as I pulled out a video of his famed Aldeburgh recital, which took place before the thumb problem, and noticed that there was at least one small bandage on the tip, not of a thumb, but on one of the other fingers.
Does Perahia have a medical problem with his system that goes beyond the well-known incident with his right thumb? I have wondered, from time to time, about this.
Most important is the reality that despite the personal tragedy which endangered his wondrous career, is that Perahia now plays, and plays better than ever.

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