And never, ever dull

Classical music, says Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, is “far from boring”:

It has all the blood, energy, the sinister dark side, rhythm that rock music has, and all the refined, subtle sensuality that one can ask for.

Just outside Yuja Wang's dressing room

Yuja Wang sits on a piano

Yuja Wang gets down on Friday

“Sinister” used to mean “having to do with the left side,” which brings us to Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961), who lost his right arm in the Great War; he subsequently commissioned several works he could still play, including a piano concerto by Maurice Ravel, which premiered in 1932. Purists — the major exception, perhaps, was Alfred Cortot — still play it with five fingers only. For her part, Miss Wang plays the notes with her left hand and works the iPad with her right.

If you’re keeping score, she’s 31, and this is the eighth time I’ve found Rule 5 space for her.


  1. fillyjonk »

    15 September 2018 · 8:17 pm

    As a lifelong fan, and sometimes (sort-of) player of classical music* I am inclined to agree with her assessment

    (*and I feel compelled to say “sensu lato,” seeing as how I mentally break it up into Early Music, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and That Damned Modern Stuff. I may be a bit of a pedant that way)

  2. nightfly »

    17 September 2018 · 12:58 pm

    This is, in fact, the piece that Charles Emerson Winchester III recommends to a painist-turned-soldier (James Stephens of The Paper Chase). It sounds a lot different without an orchestra and banged out on an upright sitting in the O-Club.

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