by Rocco de Villiers
To make music is to communicate. To look at what one is communicating with is almost essential in the modern world – from there the likes of skype, facebook and thousands of photo apps.
When one is a pianist and you emerge yourself in the abstract world of instrumental music, you learn to communicate with another mode. Sound, and sound without words, only. The piano, one of the most fascinating and mysterious instruments won’t allow the player to look at the audience. For 300 years thousands of pianists make music every night, entertain – and all that whilst looking away form the audience.
Over the last 3 decades pianists have used different tools too augment this abstract way of communication – the romantic pianists used grand gestures, Glenn Gould eccentricity, Maurizio Pollini and David Fray the deadly combination of youth and beauty, Liberace costumes, Lang Lang uniqueness, Yuja Wang the power of the body and miniskirt – but not once do they look there audience in the eye in performance. For the vain aging pianist that is a killer for the double chin! But yet they fill concert halls night after night.
My view away form the audience started when I was 4 years old. In my teens it was about hours and hours of scales, in my twenties it was about establishing a career, in my thirties and forties it was about manipulating the economical – and now it is a place of beauty, pleasure, and spiritualism.
Looking away, a double chin – but the mystery of the most popular instrument in the world continues. You don’t have to do a thing. When you press the key down, there is sound. The rest is up to you.
Follow Rocco de Villiers, South African pianist and entertainer, on www.facebook/Rocco.de.Villiers or @RoccodeVilliers