I went to a concert yesterday afternoon. Yuja Wang is a world-renowned pianist from China. At the tender age of 31, she wows audiences all over the world.
I was not wowed. Yuja played pieces from composers such as Rachmaninoff and Prokofief. What all these works had in common was … no melody. Just a whole bunch of notes flurried together in a variety of ways. I soon found myself close to nodding off, which isn’t the coolest thing to do in a fancy concert hall.
My heart wasn’t in it, not at all. Yuja’s technique was astonishing. All those runs at the speed of light! But in my oh so biased mind … “So what?” I want to be touched by life and the fine human beings who populate it. I want an ecstatic “Oh!” to escape my mouth. My eyes were closing, all right, but not for the best of reasons.
Yuja was very pretty and wore a stunning yellow gown. From my vantage point, I could see her legs, her feet and the top of her head (occasionally her soft eyes). The rest, including those flying fingers, was hidden behind the grand piano. Her glowing dress and pumping feet didn’t do much to send the wearies away.
There were folks sitting on the stage. From my spot in the front row, I could look under the piano and see them, from the neck down. And I zoomed in on one couple. They saved me from unconsciousness. Throughout the concert, they held hands, in various configurations. My favourite was when she was rubbing her foot against his calf. So sweet. This is the human contact I so desire, whether in physical touch, the meeting of the eyes, or the soaring expression of music. I watched them a lot. And then it was intermission.
I talked to the woman next to me about my troubles. She knew exactly what I was talking about. And then Yuja reappeared, this time wearing a short emerald dress that sparkled in the lights. So sexy! My neighbour leaned over and said “This should help.” I smiled.
So I got to see gorgeous legs in the second half. And got to hear no melodies. (Sigh) At the end, I was surrounded by wild cheering and rising bodies. Not me. I was not moved and so I didn’t move. I applaud Yuja’s brilliance but she didn’t reach me.
I turned to my new friend and said “The legs didn’t really help.” She laughed.