Monday, February 5, 2007

My YouTube Theft Debut

Everyone seems to have linked to something on YouTube, and I feel I must catch the train before it's gone.

One of the team members for our Trivia Weekend is, I learned, studying piano at Columbia University, a fact brought to my attention when I heard Rachmaninov watfing up from the basement. It's a thrill to hear something other than my usual chopsticks from my old Chickering. So the pianist--Amitai--and I discussed all things musical, and he introduced me to a couple people of whom I knew little. One, the Russian composer Nicolai Medtner, was a contemporary and friend of Rachmaninov, and his music makes an appearance at the end of this clip. The other person is the pianist on this clip, the Canadian Marc-André Hamelin. I have a disc or two from Mr. Hamelin, but I hadn't given him his proper attention before Amitai turned my attention to him.

As you can see from his Wikipedia profile, he is considered by many to be the "supreme technician" of the piano, and the first selection on this clip is a good example. He seems to have committed the entirety of the piano's vast literature to memory, and in this case blithely tosses off things which I would find frankly unplayable--no matter how much time I devoted to the effort. I've watched the final minute or so (of the clip's first piece) about 25 times, my mouth agape with amazement. It just doesn't get old. It doesn't hurt that the piece's subject--the Marine's Hymn--is a most infectious tune.

For those interested, this clip is one of seven parts of a Swedish television appearance, among other YouTube goodies by Mr. Hamelin.

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