between a rach (3) and a hard place – part IV

man, i’ll tell you what: i just cannot stop thinking about that rach 3 monday night.  instead of throwing more adjectives and adverbs around willy-nilly, i thought maybe a visual aid might help convey the shock and awe that yuja wang inflicted on the crowd.

welcome to sheet music 101 (the only level i could possibly teach anyways).  the image you see up above there is the beginning snippet of a cadenza, which is italian for “piano solo contained within the concerto.”  in this case, it’s a rach 3 cadenza yuja played.  the top five  horizontal lines are her right hand, the bottom five horizontal lines are her left hand.  each of those tiny round black dots you see everywhere represent single notes which can only be created by one of yuja’s very accurate, very strong, very fast fingers.  up top, mr. rachmaninoff indicates the tempo with the phrase allegro molto, which in italian means “balls out.”  that very first measure alone translates into 57 very specific piano keys that must be struck (and i do mean struck) by yuja in the space of, oh: 2 seconds.  seriously.  and this is the very beginning of a cadenza that gets progressively more difficult along the way, fo’ shō.  the whole concerto is 40 minutes long and yuja is pretty much playing allegro molto for most of it, if you catch my drift.  never detected a missed note or misstep of any kind throughout one of the most difficult pieces of music ever written.  and she played from memory.  perfectly.

fuck – i am so glad i was there, and i am so sorry if you weren’t.


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