Hola. Below are two performances of Momoprécoce by el Brasileño composer Héctor Villa-Lobos.
Momoprécoce is a Fantasia para Piano, and in the first performance below we have pianist Cristina Ortíz y Regente/conductor Roberto Tibiriçá con Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana “Simon Bolívar,” Sala Simón Bolívar Centro de Acción Social por la Música – Caracas, Venezuela.
Momoprécoce was one of the works for piano and orchestra that Doña Cristina recorded early in her career after she won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1969, and Vladamir Ashkenazy (who served as a mentor to her of sorts) was the conductor in that performance.
When I watched this video the first time I didn’t check to check where the performance was held and then the camera showed the concert hall stage and I said to myself: Oh that’s Caracas. It was. They have a beautiful concert hall in Caracas. (Off topic: They also have a nice metro in Caracas which is better than some metros in The Empire/The Cesspool/the US/Los Estados Unidos. It’s better than the metro we have in San Francisco, and yet so many USans are so mindlessly stuck on that US Exceptional-ism nonsense (that arrogant and false thinking that USans are so damned special and superior to other people around the world. Ha! I can’t stand arrogance and ignorance.) Now back on the topic:
In the second performance: pianist Nelson Freire y Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo con Marin Alsop. I was glad to see Don Nelson using his score on the piano; I talked about that “playing from memory” nonsensical tradition in the screwed up classical music field in my Rachmaninov article.
The camera work is generally very good for these performances. I watched a Rachmaninov performance recently with Doña Cristina and felt very frustrated with the camera work. There’s usually one particular part in a piece where I’m especially interested in seeing the keyboard. Well, for two of the videos I watched of Doña Cristina the camerapeople made sure they did not show the keyboard in those places. I said to my screen: What are we doing back here in the back of the hall or over here on the right side of the stage where I can’t even see the keyboard and the piano is over there in the distance? What is wrong with these camera people? Clearly they’re not pianists or even musicians otherwise they would know that the camera should be on the keyboard in this particular well-known section of this piece. Then, of course, after that section ended that I wanted to see they put the camera back on the keyboard. Ugh. Humans! The camerapeople reminded me of the inept camerawork of an Anglican church I used to write about on occasion where their camerapeople were determined to show up and down the High Altar and the entire ceiling of the Nave each week even though the ceiling never changed from week to week, as well as showing the cracks in the ceiling while the Choir was singing and the organist was playing. I wanted to see the Choir and the organist, not the ceiling, its cracks or the High Altar, especially since they don’t change from week to week. So I gave up on them as I found their camerawork too frustrating to deal with.
I read an interview with Doña Cristina—it was from quite awhile back but I think it still applies—and I agreed with most of what she said. She doesn’t like the pianos in The Empire/the US because she prefers the Hamburg Steinways, which we don’t have, and she can immediately tell when she’s playing one or from just touching the keys (since the keys are different). Also, she prefers the orchestra to be around the piano more like in chamber music—where the first violins are directly behind the pianist or slightly to the left and the cellists are in view straight on from the pianist’s view—rather than having the piano stuck out front like a what-not and isolated from the orchestra the way it’s done in The Empire/the US. She considers the US way very cold and I agree. She doesn’t play much over here in The Cesspool and I can completely understand why. Her preference (with the piano placed more in the orchestra) is the European model and I prefer that as well. I think it also looks better. She also doesn’t like the (what I’ll call) the traditional bowing protocol. I can’t stand that either. It looks ridiculous to take a bow and then rush off stage and then immediately turn around and rush back out, take a bow and repeat that nonsense a few times. It’s fine to take a bow and appreciate any applause but just stay there (on stage). I like the way pianist Evgeny Kissin handles bows. At the end of his performance, he shakes the hand and hugs the conductor (for a piano concerto) then shakes the hand of the concertmasters/leaders 1 and 2, then he pauses and bows deeply to the audience, he turns around and applauds the orchestra, he joins hands with the conductor and bows, he pauses, then turns around and bows deeply to the orchestra and then he leaves the stage. To me, that’s perfect. There’s no need for anymore than that. I especially like that Kissin bows to the orchestra at the beginning and at the end of his concerto performances. There’s no need for an artist to leave and return to the stage, unless planning to do a perfunctory encore, and encores can be a bit much too. As Doña Cristina says, the pianist is dead tired at that point and has played enough. That bowing routine nonsense I talked about earlier—which also seems to be a US thing from what Doña Cristina said—is one of the more stupid ego trips of the screwed-up classical music field especially in the US. There are so many ridiculous “traditions” followed in the classical music field in the US. What is wrong with this country? Oh don’t get me started! What humans came up with that nonsense. Was that Don Franz Liszt again that some idiots need as their god? It seems that everything el hombre/the man did people just genuflected to, and some still do. Ugh. Humans (especially the humans in The Empire/the US)!
Well, enjoy the performances below from Doña Cristina y Don Nelson. Chau.—el barrio rosa