09.25.11 | Dave
The word virtuoso is defined as, "a musician who is a consummate master of technique and artistry." or "... an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability at singing or playing a musical instrument."
When I decided to that I was going to be a serious (classical) musician, I regarded this word with esteem and respect. I saw the aspiration for virtuosity as a means of achieving self-actualization, and decided to dedicate my life towards this realization. However, like so many things, after six years of conservatory training the shine wore off this word and I fear that I have lost my reverence for the beautiful. After all, art is the habit of the artist. Nevertheless, it is my intent to use this platform to (re)discover, admire, and share music/musicians of the highest caliber, in any and all genres, strictly for the purpose of listening to Music worth listening to.
When I began this article I intended to wax philosophic about the value of expanding your aural pallet and aesthetic appreciation. I intended to write a broad and sweeping argument about the worth of the classical masterworks and the idea that this music was composed before my own lifetime and will inevitably be enjoyed long after I am gone. However, I am not that good.
The only real point that needs to be made here is that Martha Margerich has the capacity to achieve any musical idea she desires, and the artistic sensitivity to use her technique to create some of the most beautiful music I have ever had the pleasure to hear.
The piece was composed in 1901 by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) and is entitled Jeux d'eau - which translates to fountains. The original broadcast of this performance was on July 31, 1977.
If I had to sum up what makes this performance such a success in one word it would be control. I really dig the way she controls her articulation in the opening few quick gestures of the work. Everything is so clean cut and in its right place. I love her tone color and the dynamic range in which she operates. She completely captures the sense of flowing water in this way. I am amazed at her ability to separate voices and maintain the melody above the accompaniment. This can be easy to take for granted as a listener but that is only because she makes the near impossible sound and look so effortless and graceful. Finally, I am blown away at the beauty, poise, and elegance of her technique. At no point in this performance does she ever tense, or appeared rushed. Her hands operate like musical pistons and in this Martha Argerich reminds us what a marvel it is that we are capable of anything.
This potential is maybe what I enjoy most about this performance, this music, and this genre. We are capable of achieving anything if we really want it, and this music demands the best of us as musicians and as music audiences. You dig?