Truly though, the night wasn’t defined by the building, but rather by the contents. Khatia Buniatishvili is a remarkable player, both for her ability and her beauty. And frankly, I think it must be a challenge to be respected for your skill when you’ve got the T&A to keep everyone distracted. The people in the audience were absolutely raucous after the performance, and I can’t but sadly reflect it was more for her looks than for what it should have been for – her tremendous skill. She was born into it, starting the piano at the age of 3 and performing her first concerts in Tbilisi at 6 years old, something of a wunderkind really. Now she prefers to play Liszt and his like, perhaps because of that style’s vehement, whirlwind carriage, of the flashy salutes to style and the overindulgence to emotion over refinement. Liszt was known for his flourishes and his improvisation, adding all sorts of character to what had already become thought of as stodgy and uptight music, Beethoven and Bach, by his era. And as Liszt was known for flaunting his emotion physically, for falling all over the piano, throwing about his wigged hair, so is Khatia known for an over sexuality as she embraces the piano keys as she would a lover, as though the piano were her only actual true love, despite what she might think of any person. One even wonders if someone of her skill level is even capable of loving anything else but the product of their ability, as that product is so beyond what most might even dream.
It’s that passion though that puts Georgia as a future powerhouse of the arts as it continues towards a path of globalization – at least it was on that path, recent events show that the current administration seems particularly pressed to get off of that path. Many people comment on the brilliance of skill that many East Asians have in piano, though lamenting the lack of emotion as their culture tends to prefer discipline. And indeed, with enough discipline, anything is just about manageable, even playing Rachmaninoff’s Second – I personally got the honor to watch one such Asian, Yuja Wang, play it. Could I tell if it felt emotional or not? I think on many songs, like the “Rach II”, the playing is so technical and intense that only the most trained ears can tell. The common listener only sweats at what seems like a tornado of sound and skill. But perhaps too much discipline does cover up the emotion of a piece, and this is one thing that makes Georgians on the next level of music, since they’re so willing to let their passion and inspiration override any sort of discipline. This works both to their advantage and disadvantage in life, but especially to their advantage in music.
|Liszt rocking it|
|Khatia Buniatishvili in the Rudolfinum|