Hola a todos. They’ve been doing this how long? And still haven’t gotten a clue for what makes the best performance in a musical sense. I have to say I avoid watching piano concerto performances from the BBC Proms. The piano is never in the correct place. Because their stage crew is clueless/inept when it comes to the placement of the piano for a piano concerto, as if it’s an after-thought. Or, perhaps their stage crew is just following orders from insipid management.
Although I doubt there will be a 2020 Proms season this year due to COVID-19, if they have any sense-intelligence at all. Although, considering who they installed as Prime Minister, stupid is in. And as of this writing, even though there’s an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the UK, apparently Boris learned nothing from his own experience with the virus, so he’s going to start opening things up in the UK. You can’t fix stupid. He’s following in the footsteps of other insane and deranged Stupid is in people. What happened to intelligence and intelligent thinking? With COVID-19, we’ve seen some intelligence from California Governor Gavin Newsom and from San Francisco Mayor London Breed, but other than them, intelligence is rare.
As I have written before, for a piano concerto, the piano should be “inside” the Orchestra, not stuck out on the stage like a whatnot or an ornamental decoration.
I’ve gotten so that I won’t watch a performance of a piano concerto if the piano is not where it should be, because it’s clear to me that they’re trying to make the performance a gimmick rather than it being what it should be about: all about the music and the best musical performance where the pianist and Orchestra can easily hear each other, which is not the case when the pianist and Orchestra are kilometers apart.
I’m not sure why the BBC Proms consistently place the piano “outside” the Orchestra for a piano concerto instead of having the right side of the piano in line with the string section (think: an imaginary line across the front of the stage where the strings and the right side of the piano are all in line with each other and the podium is a bit deeper in the Orchestra) — where the cello or viola section is seated around the end of the piano. The pianist can look straight ahead during the performance and see the string section (cellos and or violas and basses) in front of him or her. And the First and Second Concertmasters are directly behind the pianist. Not over to the left of the pianist as in a performance I saw of where Marta Argerich performed the Liszt First with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, and Marta’s friend Daniel Barenboim conducting. (I write Marta’s first name the way it’s pronounced en español, since she’s from Buenos Aires. That’s in Argentina for the benefit of the stupid people, mainly in the US). When the piano is more “inside” the Orchestra it makes it much easier for the pianist to hear the Orchestra and the Orchestra to hear the pianist. Musically speaking, it doesn’t make any sense what-so-ever to have the piano “outside” the Orchestra.
I’ve heard piano concert artists talk about this. They say the same thing I’ve written here. Sometimes the pianist will gently ask the conductor if they would move the piano in as it effects their playing and it’s hard to hear the Orchestra being stuck out there. Some conductors are very agreeable and accommodating to the pianist’s request, where others aren’t.
But it’s what I’ve come to expect from the conservative BBC Proms. In the past, I have watched some piano concerti performances at the Proms and I watched as the pianist continued to lean his body in towards the Orchestra — trying to hear them — and because the pianist mostly performs in the EU he’s accustomed to the piano being placed right up against the Orchestra, as it should be. But with these performances from the Proms, it seems that management see it about theatrics, show and gimmick — to sell tickets? — rather than the highest quality performance possible. Chau.—el barrio rosa
Related: The piano fell off the stage?