Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pins, Needles & The Virtuoso

The Boys in The House have a certain inclination to the beauty of music. The Boy 4 shows a special connection, including an interest in styles that are outside my normal listening box. Six months ago we noticed Chu-Fang Huang, a piano virtuoso was coming to town. I saw this as a great opportunity to see what sort of tolerance he actually holds for fine arts music.

Step one was getting The Boy 8’s permission to leave him behind for the evening. He operates at a slightly higher mHz than The Boy 4 and knows it. He readily agreed to an appropriate alternative. Step two was to come to terms with the possibility of a bad experience and the ensuing potential for bail out.

To soften him up for the evening we began with his favorite eatery, the downtown Applebees. Don’t forget, because of food allergies the only thing on the menu he can have is the lemonade. Their drinking system was broken. They were only serving water. Nothing goes better with a tapioca flour bread and soy nut butter sandwich than water. Yummy. (I have serious questions about the sustainability of the downtown Applebees and we’re doing our best to be helpful.)

Next up were two art galleries. He lay on the benches and inspected the fire suppression, emergency lighting, and the track lighting systems.

Finally. Showtime. They began by announcing the video recording for the evening will be broadcast on South Dakota Public Television. They followed that by announcing their intent to make a national release out of the audio recording. Throw away the possibility of a mid-performance bail-out. Suddenly we’re the ones who let the four year old into the recording studio.

In spite of my certainty that this would be the performance he’d choose to fall out of his chair, I completely enjoyed it. The performance was excellent. She is, after all, a virtuoso. It caused me to heavily consider what might happen if I listened to less Taproot and more piano.

Halfway through the first set he showed clear signs of waning interest. At intermission we questioned him heavily on his desire to stay to the end. He insisted we stay. I think I heard him mumble something about not leaving before discovering which 5 of the 550 existing Scarlatti Sonatas this virtuoso would choose to perform for a South Dakota audience.

The playlist:
Franz Haydn – Sonata in E major, Hob. XVI:31
Franz Haydn – Sonata in B minor, Hob, XVI:32
Maurice Ravel – La Valse
Domenico Scarlatti – Five Selected Sonatas
Frederic Chopin – Sonata No. #3 in B minor, Op. 58
Less dense more educated people than me might know that the ending Chopin piece contains a musical cliché related to death. It is part funeral procession and it was incredible to hear in its true context.

After the 105 minute show we were in the car on the way home. He suggested, since the performance will be aired on television the same day he becomes The Boy 5, that we include the broadcast as part of his party. I guess he liked it. That's a little bit frightening.

PS – I’m not giving up Taproot.


Snakebite said...

It's wonderful you're encouraging musical appreciation with the off-spring. In the interest of equal time, will you be attending "Oz Fest" together? Inquiring minds want to know.

mytzpyk said...

Oz Fest is coming to Sioux Falls!?! Excellent. Is Taproot playing?


Santa brought us tickets to The Blue Man Group. Does that count?

Snakebite said...

Blue Man Group could be fun.

Anonymous said...

Chopin's B minor sonata was my preferred listening at age 6. An absolute monster in the romantic piano literature. I wore out my copy of the piece on the Time-Life record. Bravo to you for taking your boy to this.

Blue Man Group is killer on a totally different level.


p.s. not to worry, I've been told there are plenty of heterosexuals who enjoy Chopin. :-P

mytzpyk said...

Woo - it figures you'd be less dense and more educated than I.

p.s. yeah but Scarlatti AND Chopin? :)

peddlinshutterbug said...

what a precocious child..i'm glad you encourage often happens, our children often lead us into facing our own limitations...or open our eyes to new possibilities..that is one of the things i love about parenting. Maybe your child is beyond this already..but have you listened to "Peter and the Wolf?" My kids both loved that at his age and one of mine plays beautiful piano. again.. your son may be beyond that one.

hmmmm on the funny word thing i love weird words, it clinton talking in his sleep? .. never mind, BUTT..but...if you like funny words.. have i got a site for you!!! check it out.. you'll love it.. ps... if you need a great piano teacher..let me know..