…Sorry, I keep getting distracted from actually writing this because I can’t stop watching/listening to videos of the incredible Valentina Lisitsa. A friend of mine had posted something by her on FaceBook a while back, and of course I had to go check her out. When I went to her website, it was awe and love at first sight/sound.
That piece she’s playing on the opening screen? It’s Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The third movement. Everyone knows and loves the placid, brooding first movement. But it’s the third movement that made me hate Beethoven in high school. It was the one piece my piano teacher made me learn, despite the fact that it was, as my mom always called it, a seven-headed-dragon for me. And no, I never reached the level of sheer beauty and grace that Valentina executes. I did eventually learn to love Beethoven, more than I think I ever could have, had I been subjected to Fur Elise.
The big awesome, though? Last night Valentina did a last-minute performance at a piano store nearby. Seat reservations filled up quickly, but I managed to set up a date night for myself. A room of about 50-100 people, this incredible pianist, Rachmaninoff’s concertos 2 AND 3, on a Bosendorfer Imperial. Intimate and mindblowing. Oh, and for the encore, after those two massive monsters, she performed this:
The thing is, it’s not just the freakishly amazing speed and dexterity. What really gets me about Valentina Lisitsa is her musicality. The fact that, amidst those flying fingers and terrifying precision, her phrasing and dynamics are simply beautiful. She’s so organic, and to borrow from something she was telling us last night, she has a very obvious cycle of communication and understanding going between her and her instrument, and it shows.