Beauty and the Beast
Yuja Wang and Yefim Bronfman play Rachmaninoff
is twenty nine years old. A brunette China doll,
is wearing a skin-tight red bandage dress that shows off
her bare legs and almost naked back. Her slim fingers
shimmer and skip over the piano keys, shimmer and pound
in ecstasy. The heels of her four-inch stiletto patent leather shoes
are glued to the floor while her toes press the pedals
like irregular heart beats. A short boyish hairdo accentuates
her slanting eyelids, her lips talking to the notes, almost
eating them with love bites. She is so tiny that she needs to
slide her whole body from side to side to reach the lowest
bass notes and the highest treble ones in one glissando run.
In the wild applause after finishing the concerto she stands up
and bows quickly, goes to hug the conductor. The top of
her head almost reaches his shoulder.
is dressed in an ill fitting black suit. Overweight would be
a polite description. Looks like a bouncer, an undertaker or
perhaps a butcher. The Russian conductor grimaces then nods
as the pianist’s plump fingers spin out the melody, his face a study
in fierce concentration. He’s like a huge bear climbing a mountain
music pouring out of him like honey. His bulk hangs over the
keyboard at times like a thundercloud, coaxing drops of liquid
beauty into a shower over the listeners, their mouths open, ears
reverberating in the rhythm and thrill of it. As the audience explodes
he gets up, shakes his shaggy head, enfolds the conductor in
an animal hug and shambles off the stage.
are playing the same piano concerto. If it were not for You Tube
we would never feel and see how different they are – would only
hear how similar, both moving between delicate feminine passages
and powerful masculine phrases in rapture. How something inside
each of them connects in the same way with something inside us.
Our eyes closed, heads in the music, we hear only their fingers
dancing blindfolded over the keys.
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© Johnmichael Simon