nobody is dying, nobody

a mere 59 hours from now, yefim bronfman is set to deliver the first piano concerto of the season, and the beaver is simply pleased as punch.  turns out that back in 2000 (boy, it kinda feels weird to type that date, as if it couldn’t possibly be real), american writer philip roth included a dandy description of mr. bronfman in his novel the human stain.  the text is pretty darn brilliant, and mirrors what i remember seeing and hearing a while back when yefim and the band tackled, and i do mean tackled, a bartók concerto.  please enjoy:

Then Bronfman appears. Bronfman the brontosaur! Mr. Fortissimo. Enter Bronfman to play Prokofiev at such a pace and with such bravado as to knock my morbidity clear out of the ring. He is conspicuously massive through the upper torso, a force of nature camouflaged in a sweatshirt, somebody who has strolled into the Music Shed out of a circus where is the strongman and who takes on the piano as a ridiculous challenge to the gargantuan strength he revels in. Yefim Bronfman looks less like the person who is going to play the piano than like the guy who should be moving it. I had never before seen anybody go at a piano like this sturdy little barrel of an unshaven Russian Jew. When he’s finished, I thought, they’ll have to throw the thing out. He crushes it. He doesn’t let that piano conceal a thing. Whatever’s in there is going to come out, and come out with its hands in the air. And when it does, everything there out in the open, the last of the last pulsation, he himself gets up and goes, leaving behind him our redemption. With a jaunty wave, he is suddenly gone, and though he takes all his fire off with him like no less a force than Prometheus, our own lives now seem inextinguishable. Nobody is dying, nobody – not if Bronfman has anything to say about it!

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