Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Miracle of Genius and Old Age - Here's to Tony Bennett and Menahem Pressler !

The power that  the modality of genius lends to a mortal who utilizes music to prove a point  is best proven, to me, by attaining old age and remaining at world-class level at the same time.
No better examples are available than the careers of a singer in the world of pop music, and a piano player in the art of Classical music; namely, Tony Bennett and Menahem Pressler.
Simply listen to Bennett sing with Lady Ga-Ga, and hear Pressler play Mozart.
Bennett  melds into the style of Lady Ga-Ga, despite the reality that he is 60 years older than her.
And listen to him wrap his sense of musical story-telling around the shapes of the likes of Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
Then be reminded that Menahem Pressler escaped Hitler's Kristallnacht in 1938, and has been enthralling the world  ever since with his patrician readings of the Masters.
And I remind you that they are not products of Memory - they are Now...
Bennett celebrated his 90th birthday recently, and is releasing the latest of his  recordings.
Pressler will tell you of  a recent bit of surgery on his heart by  a surgeon  who demolished a premise that this kind of surgery should never even be considered on a man approaching his mid-nineties.
Pick up their latest recordings - what a gift to us!! Consider the combination of empirical and eclectic powers that these two performers possess.
Up until this period,  I had long considered that the legendary pianist  Artur Rubinstein was, for me,  the  paradigmatic example of longevity and genius  - after all, how many great pianists performed the music of Chopin  over twice as long as the life span of the composer? Rubinstein retired at age 89, after performing for years with failing eyesight and hearing, without divulging this information to his loving audiences. I adore his story of personal courage.
Fortunately, both Bennett and Pressler continue to enhance our world of escape, and my hope is that this miracle can go on...
By the way, the paintings of Tony Bennett  are on display  non-stop in various locations throughout the world.

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