Wow, Fast fingers – Louis Luangkesorn

I remember hearing about this concert a few weeks ago.  I had been sent links to YouTube videos with Yuja Wang, and hints that she was a pianist with amazing technique, a virtuoso.  But those are words I've heard before, and did not pay much attention.

For all the talk of technique and raw talent, I believe that there is more to being proficient then ability, it is the ability to apply that talent to a context interacting with others that provides value above and beyond the application of talent.  I had a discussion about this in regard to a book I did not like all that much.  It was a claim at a person could grow in skill to a level way beyond any of those around her.  My claim has always been is that ability past a certain point requires a person be interacting with others who can complement her gifts and talents, and point the way towards greater heights.

Where I lose interest in virtuosi is when they seem to only shine alone.  And the concerti where a soloist and the orchestra take turns playing are not as interesting as when the orchestra and soloist play off each other.

From the point of view of looking for virtuoso, Ms. Wang did not disappoint.  I was amused during the intermission of one man who said to her "Wow."  But, for all the accolades that Yuja Wang has received over skill, there was more she could show during the Prokofiev.  From the opening, where the orchestra seemed like it was sneaking in to the piano's opening, to numerous transitions throughout, the changes in focus from piano to orchestra seemed smooth, with the level of intensity and energy matching at the point of transition, both the piano and orchestra parts fitting together. Supporting each other as in conversation, not merely dropping out in an exchange of soliloqueys.  And sharing the stage does not make the soloist lessor, but made Ms. Wang's talent shine.

And this impresses me more than the ample demonstration of her skills, even more the arrangement of Flight of the Bumblebee encore that she played.  That her and the orchestra playing together make each other look better.  And people like that, not only do they look good.  You are glad they do and hope to see them again.

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