Sunday, August 26, 2012

A story of excellence for your Sunday or Monday

Dear amici, dear amicae,

Let's start near the end.

Shostakovich wrote the two dozen pairs of preludes and fugues of which this is the final, essentially for this pianist, Tatiana Nikolayeva. The idea of two dozen preludes and fugues should sound familiar to you, as an early demonstration of the use of equal temperament --- of a well-tempered clavier.

I heard this story on the "culture" channel of the Radio Broadcaster Established By Royal Assent, Sunday afternoon. In 1950, Shostakovich went to Leipzig (on the red side of the Curtain as it was, you will recall), as one of a Judges Panel for the Bach bicentennial competition. At young Nikolayeva's turn, the panel asked (for it was that part of the competition) which prelude and fugue would she be playing, and her answer was whichever you want. She was 26 at the time; and she won (it's one thing to have them all memorized, but she still had to play them well, too...); but even better, she inspired this

I really did write "An story", didn't I? It had initially been "An Awsome Story", but I figured I'd been using that word a bit much elsewhere, of late...


Post a Comment