This post was edited and republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.
A Musical Interlude
I’ve just finished reading Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, which I loved and have reviewed for Shiny New Books here.
In the novel, the narrator’s mother is a German concert pianist – and Liszt’s piano étude La Campanella (the little bell) is an idée fixe running throughout the novel. I was shocked to find that I don’t own a CD of this amazing piece of music, which is based on a theme from Paganini’s second violin concerto. So I set out to explore, and there are just so many recordings out there – the tune is now a complete earworm for me! On my travels I came across some other bloggers’ favourites: Eric at Lonesome Reader picked Valentina Lisitsa, whereas Claire at Word by Word chose Yundi Li to illustrate her post.
I hurried off to Youtube. Top of the list comes Lang Lang – technically perfect, yet far too showy for me. Alice Sara Ott was too clean and measured. There are many clips of Lisitsa playing it – including one on an out of tune piano in a park – her left hand, accompanying the dextrous tinkling of the right, is particularly lovely. The one for me though turned out to a performance from the Proms in 1997 by Russian-born, British-Israeli Evgeny Kissin. His intensity is ferocious, you see the sweat pouring off him in the later stages yet, he just sparkles in the light passages – he really inhabits the piece.
Do you have a favourite? Here’s Evgeny…