Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

The Politically Incorrect Show - 30/03/2001

[Music - Die Fledermaus]

Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Friday March 30, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.

[Music up, music down!]

Yesterday I asked you to tell me the things you get passionate about, the things you love & hate. After a slow start - possibly because you weren't expecting such a question - you responded, passionately. Tonight, I shall be indulging one of MY passions - attending a concert performance of the "Rach 3" by Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov. Now this young man had some very interesting things to say in an interview published in yesterday's Dominion. For one thing, there is another great passion in his life apart from music - flying. Last year he had a problem with his right hand which meant he had to take a break from the piano - so off he went to flying school to get a licence! He wanted to rent a plane while in New Zealand & see the country from its cockpit, but his schedule has not allowed him the time. He's had to practice hard, because tonight's performance of Rach 3 will be only his third - the second was last Friday in Wellington. "The piece," he says, "is some kind of icon because everybody thinks it's so hard. And I think many people try to play it before they're actually ready. It's not a good starting point if it's too difficult for you. There are so many notes & it takes so much time just to do it, & one is tempted to shift one's attention toward technique, & that's exactly what I didn't want to do. I always thought I was going to do this piece - actually I thought I'd do it when I'm 30, but I'm 28, & I felt ready for it."

Then he makes an extraordinary observation. The other major work he's performing during his tour here is Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20. Now that's a lovely work, but, coming from the period it does, it doesn't begin to scale the soaring heights of the Rach 3, & Mr Melnikov confesses to finding the "gear change" uncomfortable. "Those two, one after the other, with the same orchestra, in the same concert hall, on the same piano - I found it an amazing experience & I'm not so sure it's entirely positive. Because not only does one have to play very differently, but one has to think very differently, &, I would say, to LIVE very differently."

He's not asked to elaborate, unfortunately, but those remarks make me very impatient to hear him. It takes a very special performer to do justice to the Rach 3, both technically & emotionally, & Mr Melnikov sounds like just such a one, with all the intelligence & exuberance necessary to conquer this pianistic inferno. As a foretaste, here's a glorious minute or so from the second movement, played by Byron Janis with the London Symphony Orchestra.

(CD Tk 2. Begin at 5' 08" & fade at 6' 30")

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