dancing with the stars – part II

on monday night, when the tuxedo-clad roadies began rollling the steinway onto the schnitzer stage, a few folks in the audience started clapping as the grand lady made her entrance.  whoa nellie, now that’s my kind of people.  [a beavertail salute to whoever you were!]  anyways, once the wheels were locked and the music stands were re-positioned for a dramatically slimmed down orchestra, a rather unassuming *jon kimura parker walked out from stage right (necktie and all), sat at the piano bench, quickly wiped off those 88 keys with his little red kerchief, and signaled silently to coach kalmar: i am now ready to channel the gods.

the low drone of deep strings… the darkly wailing winds… the sense of sonic doom shifting about within the key of d minor… um, the twentieth piano concerto composed by wolfgang amadeus mozart certainly does not begin how one might expect.  no wonder this was some of uncle Ludwig’s favorite music – it’s downright sturmey und drangey!  ’twas actually a bit of a relief when the piano finally introduced itself, its passivity gently rubbing off on the band and effectively mellowing its harsh, so to speak.  some initially tentative keyboard pokings quickly morphed into a confident command, and before we in the crowd knew what hit us, the 9-foot-long piano began assuredly weaving in and out of our mighty orchestra like ryan gosling’s suped-up impala evading the po-po in driveswoon!  and what to say about that freakin’ cadenza monday night?!  did the beavs catch a mozart-Beethoven-alfvén-parker mash-up?  [sheesh, coach kalmar wasn’t kidding about that tenacious swedish earworm.]  eventually the excitement subsides and, as though mirroring its murky beginning, the first movement suddenly peters out…

…and the middle movement begins.  oh.  dear.  god.  now the solo steinway leads off, gently introducing us to perhaps *the most sublime music ever created.  like, in all the universe.  like, ever.  sure, homo sapiens have a tendency to treat each other shabbily, and okay, they seem to be obsessed with warfare and greed, and yep, they’re currently destroying our planet with alarming alacrity.  but at one point over the course of history, a guy with the ridiculous name of wolfgang created something so perfect, so brilliant, and so beautiful, those human failings mentioned above seem rather inconsequential and humanity was forever redeemed.  oh my, what an absolute treat to finally hear this music performed live.

the concerto finale rockets off into the stratosphere at breakneck speed, and how the hell jackie pulled it off is totes beyond me.  wow.  his hands were sick, dude, and at times nothing more than a fleshy blur.  with insane skill and grace from start to finish, mr. parker delivered a performance that will stay with this particular rodent for a long, long, long time.  while some tepid local critics proclaimed this program was “well worth checking out” [ahem], the classical beaver says you are a damn fool if you missed it.  jkptid!

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