by Diana Malkin
Have you ever seen a classical music concert start with an older lady, much like my own grandma, playing to an audience of 2,000 people while her fingers fight over the piano keys with rapid speed? The name is Martha Argerich – an absolute star of a pianist. She is a graceful lady of 76 who still sports a low cut top and exerts palpable feeling of grandeur and splendor about to happen. This past Monday evening, I was able to see and hear a virtuoso concert by Ms. Argerich and Sergei Babayan. Ms. Argerich appeared regal as she completely ruled the stage and audience – after all, we were all there for her – Mr. Babayan was fittingly grotesque in his short slight hunched body, especially when he extended his arms in full length for the pounding effect in the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father by S. Prokofiev. The two of them together complemented each other. Nobody in the audience was left unmoved. They gave two more encore performances, yet the audience begged for more.
Both Martha and Sergei are world renowned piano players. They played Twelve Movements from Romeo and Juliet (S. Prokofiev), A Sonata for Two Pianos (W.A. Mozart), and Seven Piano Pieces (S. Prokofiev) during the concert.
To say they were astounding would be an understatement. That concert was surreal. I forgot about my stresses for a little while, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Just watching as Sergei rounded his back and danced his fingers across the piano keys was entertaining and beckoned me to learn more about the music he was playing.
Many of us underestimate the importance of classical music. It’s one of the most significant parts of our culture and history. Not only is it a way to express ourselves, but a story and message.
I will be honest, at times I find listening to classical music completely boring and daunting. However, it took me until the age of eight to realize how elaborate and sophisticated composing and understanding classical music is.
When listening to classical music (this sounds cheesy), I can reflect and relax by focusing on the music I am hearing. It has a different effect than modern music. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my share of Post Malone, Drake, and Sam Smith, but I get a different message from classical music because I can create my own story while listening. Think of it as a dream within a dream as one piano delivers a melody that is in turn echoed by the second piano. Then, as if to draw you in further, the right and left hands on both pianos “chase” each other and take turns to lead; suddenly emerge or disappear as if playing hide-n-seek among the birch trees in the woods. It is also very much like an impressionist’s painting where the artists give you an idea and it is up to you to unravel it. You can be anything you want to be in a classical music “story”.
If you don’t like it, you haven’t found the right music yet. I recommend for each one of you reading this to just take two minutes to listen to Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, or anyone else.
Here’s two playlists I found on Spotify for you to listen to: https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX2d2B80QbRDa
I urge you to learn a little about classical music as well as significant composers and their significance.