Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How fast is too fast?

Last night I heard a broadcast of the Chicago Symphony playing Schubert's 9th symphony - the Great. Daniel Barenboim was conducting and I'm not kidding you, he must have been in a hurry to get somewhere because the last movement was taken at a speed I wouldn't wish on anyone - way too fast. If you know this work, you know that the last movement is already hard enough even if you take it at a moderate speed. At the speed Barenboim took it, I know more than one violinist must have gotten hurt. The notes were just a blur. A blur. I was annoyed, of course. Very annoyed. It was as if you had taken your best girl out to the finest restaurant, ordered the best (and most expensive) item on the menu, and then told her you only had five minutes to finish the meal. Please. What was he trying to do? Show off? I have played this piece four or five times but never this fast - I would simply walk out. I don't need the money.

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