This Week in Classical Music 8/11/2017

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Conductor's Missing Pup found at Tanglewood;

Denk on the "Catlike" Chopin 

   

 

 

It’s this week in classical Music, an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.

 

When your four-legged friend goes missing, you round up all your friends and neighbors for a search party; When a famous conductor’s dog runs away at a music festival, the whole audience was on the lookout for the little guy. 

When Conductor David Zinman’s four-month-old Cuban Havanese Puppy Carlito wandered off at Tanglewood, Cellist Yo Yo Ma enlisted the help of all 13000 concert-goers to try and rescue the runaway Pup.

After performing the Schumann Cello Concerto at Tanglewood cellist Yo Yo Ma, who considers Zinman one of his great mentors and friends, took over the Mic to make a public plea to concert-goers to help find Mr. Zinman’s puppy-- who had been lost earlier that morning.

All those eyes to the ground paid off- Around 7 p.m, Grace Ellrodt, a 19-year-old Lenox resident was driving down Cliffwood Avenue with her boyfriend when the two saw a puppy in the middle of the road. They had heard about the missing dog from their families and friends who were at Tanglewood for the matinee concert. So they lured the puppy over with dog treats and took him back to the maestro.  Happy Ending!

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 A recent Piece by Pianist Jeremy Denk in the New York Times reflects on the catlike inclinations of Frederick Chopin.  Denk remembers his piano teacher telling him, “Chopin was sensitive,” he said. “Like a cat.”  The teacher, Hungarian Pianist Gyorgy Sebok, illustrated his point by making his sausage-fingered hands walk across his desk like nimble and graceful paws.

Sebok’s point was that the composer had a catlike understanding of which notes to hold and which to let go; Much like a cat gracefully navigates the living room bookcase or an outside garden wall, Chopin seems to know instinctively where to find a musical foothold-- Leaping, Cat-like, "on delicate traceries between chords, and then,  leaping to a new harmony as if it were nothing".

Chopin’s catlike subtlety extends to rhythms as well. Especially in the Ballades and Preludes, "his approach to rhythm is unusually flexible and fluid"—a very feline trait.

As a point of comparison,  Denk says "Franz Liszt, the other towering virtuoso pianist-composer of the 19th century, had many virtues... but was almost never as subtle or tasteful as Chopin". Denk says Liszt reminds him of "an enthusiastic, friendly dog, often too eager to please".

Denk Writes "Chopin will purr on your lap, happily enough, but that is not his main agenda...for all his Romantic urgency, there is something about Chopin that stands apart". (Aloof, even--sounds catlike).  "His music changed the world without wanting to get too dirty in it". (more cat-ness) He even imagines Chopin saying, “I am a cat. Isn’t that enough?”

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