Embarrasing Admission Perfect Music Piano Tchaikovsky

Embarrasing Admission!

Besides the ‘inner prods’ to listen to Classical – which I ignored (*see ABOUT ME on the right); there were a few periods of false starts. One is when I was living in California in the late 70’s where I joined a Classical cassette club that lasted about 6 months – and the other time was way back in those innocent ‘hippie’ days – (during which I participated fully! Woodstock – yes I was there … but by accident!, Haight Ashbury, Greenwich Village, Psychedelic Utopianism etc.) In 1967 … or 68? – maybe 69! (*to quote the axiom: “If you remember the 60’s – you weren’t there”) So true!

Anyway …  I was living near the Ohio State University campus in Columbus Ohio and the other day recalled an incident where I’d planned days ahead to get “high” on LSD … and go to the campus music listening room. And listen to this! I did … about 5 times! There’s no escaping the fact that this is one of the most powerful, beautiful and dynamic pieces of music ever written. BUT – I used to turn it off after the super climax, (a bit over 2 minutes into this First Movement) and play those first couple of minutes again. NOW I realise that the entire first movement is wonderful and worth listening to! ..  And it belongs in the Perfect Music section where it now lives.

(*pianist is Yevgeny Sudbin)

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor

  • Ben Leet
    July 22, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I heard Van Cliburn play T. #1 in Oakland, California, in the late ’60s. It was riveting. He was great, especially the first movement, and the second. After the first there was applause, which is rare. He looked around at the audience, I was applauding above my head, he saw me, I think. The conductor was Gerhard Samuel, by the way. Now that is almost 50 years ago. I hear the chords of the piano ascending in that section, and the main theme, a Russian complaint-theme. Maybe at the time I was impressionable, easily moved, emotional. Maybe he delivered me beyond what I perceived was in the music. It was magnificent, truly. But now, I wonder why I don’t listen to #1. Is it no longer magnificent? Am I no longer magnificent? I think that I’m no longer magnificent. What do you think, Jim? You must tell me. I never knew you were such a nut, to go into Ohio U. at Columbus, high on a psycho-delic mind numbing thing and indulge in total depravity-ecstacy inducing activity. What a lost soul! O well, you had good company, including Peter Illyich. And me, in a sense. Tell me it ain’t so and that it is so!

  • Jim
    November 8, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Good work in Germany Frank! Kept them commies outta Europe! Van Cliburn huh.
    I can’t remember clearly but I think my dad, the ultimate Chopin freak, May have looked down his nose on him … compared to Rubinstein and Horowitz – his ‘main men’

  • Frank Strauss
    November 8, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Hi Jim-You probably didn’t think you’d get brought back to June, 2008, did you? I was going through some of your categories, and picked this one up. One of my early LP’s was the Van Cliburn; I loved it and I played the heck out of it, especially that thunderous climax . As a matter of fact, I still have it. We sort of crossed paths that August weekend in 1969. You were zipping up the Thruway to Woodstock, and I was taking my first plane ride, to San Antonio, Texas, Fort Sam Houston, for basic training. I ended up working for Uncle Sugar in Germany for the next three years. No Eastern Bloc troops made it to the Riviera in those 3 years, except if they were on leave.

  • Lance
    June 7, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Hi again Jim! Totally agree with you on Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto! the whole 1st movement is riddled with climaxes and the music just blows my mind!

    Anyway, (if you haven’t) you should definitely check out another wonderful piece by Tchaikovsky: Concert Fantasia in G, Op. 56. I think this piece would fit perfectly into your “perfect” music list among all the other wonderful pieces you’ve written about.