The aged auditorium of Preston Bradley once again was filled with plenty of cases of peripheral artery disease and arthritis as the weekly faithful slowly filed in under the less than flowing banners of sparse grayed pates. Slow habitual baby steps d’rigor characterized the contestants typical of this race. Canes and calcification of neck, back, and other sinews denying one any ownership of the false notion of a continuum of youth. Considering that in a decade or two from now their presence within here would be notable by its absence. The chairs empty of so many longstanding memories of former concerts and rising stars come to brilliance or retired. New faces, new ideas, the old ones then being unimaginable. The inevitability of the rise and fall of successive generations and their tastes being as inevitable as the rotation of the Earth to the angle of the morning Sun and the ocean waves dance to the tune of the orbiting moon. This ornate chamber offering a scenario from Poe’s Masque of Red Death holding an operatic liaison in consort with the cast of characters from the mind of a Gaston Leroux. If this withered flesh were to suddenly fall from the bones of those assembled within the room, could there be any greater measure of equality in this sense?
The lady in sleeveless red takes the stage. Ah, women! Ever ready to present themselves recklessly before their audiences casting everything that they possess so recklessly forth for the sake of the imminent performance. Her striking presence offering beauty and poise but also promising passion with the exercise of talent, all standing painfully brilliant and apparent before the long ebony grace of the instrument behind her. The sensuality of it all almost screaming at the top of its lungs in an overt facsimile of pretentiousness that in her case it all will be let loose to rule the roost. She begins with a demonstrable physical connection to the music generated that almost simulates a pornographic form of freedom with its release. Unbound ecstasy completely innocent of any propriety in exposing the electric root of an inner personality driving forth the performance in the most evident of manners of being and existential existence. Her instant rapport with the keyboard of the piano physically put forth in pantomime conveyed to the point of being mistakable with that found on the stage of grand opera. Here is one unafraid to plunge forth naked before the world. She begins her heated conversation with it. Her continence focused doubled down upon the eighty-eights, treating them like indolent children, encouraging, cajoling, and sometime scolding them with a mercurial demeanor. Artfully banging the lower register as if sorting out a lovers tiff, then leaping back over the octaves to a higher ecstasy of fulfillment of the joy of discovery of self. Perhaps after such treatment, the piano will explode into flames by that rising crescendo artfully placed before the finale? Like her dress in vibrant red, exposing everything yet covering it with passion and delicacy come of a proficiency long developed by practice and talent. She can seem to do no wrong. She is this piano’s master, equally aware of those required proper pauses and impassioned empty spaces found in between that building cycle within this musical score summarily evoking the evidence of raw power. Yet ever in communication with the composer’s intention of every phrase and passage.
The Inter-Acte comes and an unprecedented number of old guys rise to scamper away down the aisles to tip off that unexpected passion that has been fired up within them in an exit to the nearest antechamber. She returns to the platform like an aerial Deva climbing to her trapeze then casting herself effortlessly into the ether with both body and soul. The Dionysian quality of aural ambrosia casting the audience into a soporific muse of unrelenting passion of a kind that most here before her are in the past tense category of being in the possibility of once gain finding same. Envy by some, perhaps? But would any of them know the price to be paid to achieve the same? The ignorant banality of an elderly intolerant sneeze threatens to disable the mood. It’s rude intercession firing her to an even more physically demonstrative effort in retort. This the kind of explosive fervor of what might expect from the unconventional characters of a 1940’s Warner Brothers cartoon from the ink pen of Tex Avery. The audience rises to its feet to gather appreciatively for a final round of spirited applause. The sort of demonstration that one might have expected from those who had just witnessed an impossible jump by a daredevil into the towering abyss of the deepest gorge by the most fearless Bungie of jumpers now miraculously appearing before them as still mortal and alive.