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Fantastic, Flamboyant Freddy!
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Fri, 2010-06-18 09:02
I ran into Peter Cresswell just before the concert began, and said, "Now I know why I never go out."
Auckland traffic on a Friday night is a nightmare.
And that's just the pedestrians.
It's a ten-minute walk from my hotel to the Town Hall. Seeing the tense and frenetic ... what are they called—humans? ... scurrying hither and thither as if in a nuclear panic, and hearing the headbanging caterwauling that blared from various establishments along the way, I thought again of Steven Mallory's drooling beast. Arriving at the inadequately sign-posted Town Hall, I felt no abating of my misanthropic pall.
Then, after a perfunctory warm-up piece by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, whose strings were out of tune, on came Freddy Kempf for the Tchaikovsky.
He looked exactly as we've seen him here on SOLO—slim, radiant ... and hair-flopping. Yes, he came out with Perrental Advisory writ large.
Well, we certainly needed some kind of warning.
What Freddy unleashed cannot be put into words, at least by me.
When thunder was required, he was Thor himself. But there was tenderness to melt the coldest of hearts. And everything in between. And those unbelievably nimble fingers, of which I had a perfect view!
As he pounded the bottom of the piano for the final upward cadenza in the third movement, I feared for the safety of the instrument itself. So, evidently, did the conductor, who turned to peer solicitously down at it from time to time.
The climactic chords were truly a consummation of "the total passion for the total height," and I believe I was the first to start applauding, not to mention screaming, at the concerto's conclusion.
It was beyond KASS ... a perfect combination of flamboyance and nonchalance.
As was his encore, the Horowitz transcription of Stars and Stripes which, again, has been featured here several times.
In the bar, during intermission, I couldn't stop shaking. Sam Pierson saw my plight and poured my drink for me.
I elected not to linger for the Cacofiev that was the second half of the programme. Anything else after Freddy's Tchaikovsky would have been sacrilege.
I went to leave, but there was Freddy, signing CDs. I bought one, and, last in line, looked him in his beautiful eyes, held out my hand and said, "Freddy, may I touch those magic fingers? That was magnificent. Glorious. Masterly. Heartfelt. Thank you!" He took my hand and beamed. I suppose he realised I was a hopeless, swooning wreck, but he didn't let it show.
As I negotiated the Auckland foot-traffic again and heard the same headbanging as before, I thought of Dagny's line, "We never had to take it seriously, did we?"
More than anything else, I realise I have to remind myself: those things we Romantic realists worship, those supposedly yon things for which we yearn, those sacred special moments for which we live, those truly human intrusions into the world of the drooling beast ... they still happen!
Tomorrow, the Rach 3.
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