Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Joust With Perspective By Way of 'Tactical Listening'...

The legendary pianist Artur Rubinstein recorded the Chopin Mazurkas repeatedly during his career, capping off this  unparalleled  relationship with these masterpieces by way of a simple remark made during his twilight period  " I think that I can play them better now."
Glenn Gould burst upon the scene in his twenties with his magnificent Goldberg Variations, and  shortly before his tragically premature death  recorded them once again.
Vladimir Horowitz first recorded the Rachmaninoff  third concerto in 1930. His final recording of this massive work occurred in 1978.
The Bach Partitas, as recorded by Glenn Gould, had for years been my most compelling view of these pieces; that is, until Angela Hewitt came along years later with her recording of these jewels by the giant of the Baroque Era.
The enormous number of recordings of the Mazurkas as performed  by Rubinstein made it impossible for me to array them in any linear modality, as regards listening to them in  encapsulated form; however, I placed the Gould recordings of the Goldberg variations back-to-back on CD. I also placed the first and last recordings  that Horowitz had made of the Rachmaninoff Third back-to-back on another CD.
With Gould and Hewitt, I recorded each piece in all  six of the Bach Partitas  so that, for instance, the Gigue in Partita I by Gould would be followed by Hewitt's performance of the same  Gigue.  
Which comes to my Tatum Project. Initially, I chose around twenty or thirty of  tunes recorded by the Jazz giant Art Tatum  in order to get underway with the Project.  A few years later,  I decided to enlarge the Project by taking  the 70 pieces recorded(in three days!) by Tatum in 1953, organized by the jazz impresario Norman Granz, almost as if he knew that Tatum would be dead within three years of these recordings; almost as if Granz had demanded  that the legacy of Tatum be created - at any rate, taking these 70 tunes, I created a lexicon of perspective, primarily for my own pleasure AND ultimate enlightenment by way of linear placement.. I chose one of these 70 tunes, then followed by choosing a recording made by one of the concert giants of the past century which contained the same kinds of finger techniques that were used in the Tatum tune.
And so a giant project followed that afforded me a refurbished, certainly unprecedented view of piano performance at the highest level in a different format. For instance, Tatum might be followed by Horowitz; then the next  Tatum might be followed by a Rachmaninoff; or a Gilels; or an Arrau; or a Lhevinne; etc., etc., until all of Tatum's tunes would, in single form, be followed by the great classical artists of the past century or so, with a grand total of 140 separate recordings being heard in contiguous form.
And YES(in answer to your question!) it was worth spending months on the Tatum Project.
For me, I have a far greater Perspective enhancing my reactions, both intellectually and spiritually, such as in the Gould, Horowitz, and Gould/Hewitt incarnations; and in the dazzling world of finger techniques, such as in the Tatum Project.
The term 'perspective' has  a deeper significance for me, through this procedure.

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