Thursday, November 10, 2005


Radu, John, Paul, George, and Ringo

I was just listening to Radu Lupu's recording of Brahms's Three Intermezzos, which the ever reliable Alex Ross placed in his "personal pantheon of the most beautiful piano records ever made." What the hell, I bought it. And he was right: Lupu has a gorgeous, melting touch, which seems to erase the piano's essential character as a percussive instrument. I saw him play in Seattle about five years ago--the reclusive performer, with his Transylvanian haircut and beard, insisted on changing pianos halfway through the show--and he topped even his own fluid recording of Schubert's Four Impromptus. (That CD, part of the Decca Legendary Performances series, retails for a meager $11.98. If you don't buy it, you're insane.)

Meanwhile, I concluded my marathon viewing of The Beatles Anthology last night--all eight hours, plus the extra DVD of bonus material. It's not exactly flawless. By the end of the third disc, you feel like you've heard the Fabs singing "Twist and Shout" about 19 times (and you have, you have). There's also the squirm-inducing spectacle of Sir Paul McCartney doing the revisionist thing: Macca can't stop himself, he's always defending his patch of historical turf. That said, I got quite involved--a little teary, even--watching the band decline and fall. No doubt the story pushes some buttons for this child of the Sixties. Dashed hopes, lost youth, receding hairline: it's all there, plus the music, which still makes most of our current fare look pretty pallid.

I have the Rubinstein Brahms Intermezzos that I'm fond of - wonder how they stack up.
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