Monday, April 10, 2006

Have Piano, Will Travel: Zimerman

.And of course his
went everywhere with him

Ah, those were the days! Touring with your chef, doctor, family, and pianos by rail. The good days apparently aren't entirely gone:

"Zimerman does travel with his own Steinway. That's almost unheard of these days. But it's the essential ingredient of his eclectic programming."

Can you imagine the logistics of hauling your own concert grand around with you?
Zimerman's upcoming recital looks to be a really good one. Most interesting part of the program, at least for me, is his selection of a "little-known work, Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz's Piano Sonata No. 2. Bacewicz, who died in 1969 and is one of Poland's greatest female composers, composed the sonata for Zimerman's longtime teacher, Andrzeij Jasinski." Lucky folks in Rochester!

Read the rest here.


Margarita said...

Thank you for this post!

Yesterday was the last day of the "Piano Celebration" series held in the Shriver Hall in Baltimore. And Zimerman did bring his own piano ... so he could play his program the way he wanted it to be heard. Two days later, another pianist (who didn't bring his own piano) had to change his program at the very last moment... so the audience who came to listen to the four-hand arrangement of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" by Fazyl Say had to do with his Mussorgsky "Pictures at an Exhibition" (no, I love “Pictures”... but I came to hear “The Rite”!) The reason of this sudden change in the program was the mechanical problems of the local Steinway that prevented the artist from playing what he intended to play. The Lesson: If you want to play Stravinsky's 4-hand arrangement with just 2 hands... bring your own piano! :)
(Uchida does it, Horowitz did it...)

p.s. Even without "The Rite"... it was a great concert, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I have done publicity for several of Mr. Zimerman's Boston appearances (an often unnecessary task). In the course of my job I have learned that he not only takes his own piano with him on tour, but takes it apart in the process. He carries the harp-like structure that holds the strings (I can't remember the name) around in the trunk of a car and often up to his hotel room to make adjustments. If that makes him sound kooky, he is anything but. He's a remarkable artist.

The Well Tempered Blog said...


That's amazing! I imagine it's rare the pianist who has the ability to do that. Frankly, I think that's great!

Best Wishe, Bart

Adam Baratz said...

It was a very good recital. I don't know what was so eclectic about the program (besides the Bacewicz, common fare by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel), but he brought a lot to them. He seemed to have specific orchestrations in mind for the music, which he conjured up with an exceptionally wide range of tone colors. This effect was particularly striking with the "Valses Nobles et Sentimentales."

I tried to get a peek at the piano during intermission to see what kinds of modifications he'd made to make it easier to transport. All I noticed was what looked like a wooden wing nut at the top of the block where the pedals meet the bottom of the case (my piano anatomy's also no good). I'm guessing it was there to make it easier to take that part off when you have to move the instrument.