On the international flight, one of my favorite things is to listen to classical music and read books. I just cannot feel justified to watch movies for 14 hours without doing any work related things. Sorry, you can call me workaholic, but I am just so in love with what I am doing.
This time, I was surprised to hear the Charles Rosen playing Debussy on the flight. Debussy as a impressionist has the most beautiful water coloring notes in the history, and his color was never heavy, but was just like water color: pure, light, and bright.When impressionist painters dealt with colors in their art work, they never “ mix” color, but just draw different color together to create a very interesting visual effect. You have to stay in certain distance to enjoy their paintings, with the assistant of natural light, you will feel warm and richness of the colors from their painting . When you get closer to their paintings, you will discover those amazing warm colors are created by “dots” from “ pure colors”, not mixed colors. This is impressionism. Just imagine the moonlight shining in the forest, imagine a rose floating on the river, or rain dots drizzling on the stones. Impressionism creates delicate feelings of natural movements.
Charles Rosen, the only thing I know about him is that he is an amazing pianist. His performance of Goldberg Variations accompanied me through the darkest time in my life. When I was in high school, I was over stressed of the entrance exam to the college. Every night, it was his performance helped me to go to sleep. At that time, I lived in the dorm, every night I laid on the bed listening to the CD from first variation to the last one, then I went to sleep.
Bach’s Goldberg variations have very amazing “ meditation” effects. It has emotions, but very restrained emotions. Pianists who play it have to have very good control and very good physical strength. I only witnessed once in my life the performance of this work alive. A young pianist wanted to challenge this work and he did very well in the first couple variations, but later, he got tired. When he got tired, the things happened were rhythms became chaotic and then you just could not tell the themes any more. The variations are supposed to center around the theme. The theme varies in a very balanced rhythms/time. Maintaining balanced rhythms really requires a lot of physical strength and a very clam personality. It is a really hard meditation for pianist.
Charles Rosen had really good control in the entire work and maintained a very peaceful rhythms from first one to the last one, 32 pieces in total, 1 hour ish performance. Because of his calm, his performance clams me.
Goldberg variation is also one of the representative works of JS Bach. Bach is my favorite composer. When I am getting older and older, I love Bach more and more. Bach is about math, about structural balance, about eternity, about something never fade. No matter how many times you listen to his works, you can find something new. It is not about his work is changing. It is about he is great enough, rich enough for endless exploration. Rumors say that Bach could do 12 different melodies at the same time and made sure that they all got along with each other. His abilities were way beyond us. In our time, there are too many noisy, majority of us have lost the ability to find, understand and create harmonies.
I really wanted to listen to Charles Rosen’s CD again, but you know the newest version of MacBook Pro does not have CD Room any more. They believe that the digital ways could replace CD eventually, maybe they are right, but you know CD is still the best way to preserve the richness of classical music. Digital way of preserving music is catching up but still not on the same level as CDs.
In terms of CDs, one more thing surprised me today was that my Sony Walkman still works… WAOOO, no matter how much Chinese people dislike Japanese . Their technology on the electronic products cannot be overlooked. Their products are the best testimonial of their ability for perfectionism. That Walkman has more than 15 years history now, but it still work as well as it was the first day. I am now happily enjoy the Goldberg Variations from a CD. I just checked out the price of the Sony Walkman today. It is still as expensive as it was 15 years ago. It had not dropped the price because of the raising of the digital way of preserving music. They believe that good technology never fade. It is this kind of faith of perfectionism that sustains the development of Japanese technology.
In a time of consumption, I just cannot stop feeling moved by those classical things, which endures the testing of time. I guess this is the reason why I cannot justified to watch too many movies on the international flight, if I have 14 hours, I wish to share with something that will not fade….lol…