Traditional piano recitals, both live and recorded, consisted in precocious and neurotic virtuosos performing anthologies of canonical compositions by precocious and neurotic geniuses. This interpretive tradition has recently come to an end, together with its supportive critical and scholarly discourses as well as the marketing of the compilation album and the concert series. Today’s recital is more likely to consist in learned and sophisticated musicians performing thoughtful assemblages of standard and rare pieces by interesting and inspiring composers.
One of the many productive outcomes of the new practice is that now listeners pay more attention to the probing program than to individual works, appreciating the juxtaposition of periods, styles, and techniques. Pianists today invite their audience to participatory music making. Doorways: Half-Remembered Music by Chinese-American Susan Yang (a Michigan D.M.A.) is this year’s outstanding example. I am grateful to my other self, Dr. Pantelis Polychronidis (another Michigan D.M.A.), who has taught me to listen collaboratively by assembling my own programs.
25 August 2020