Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomeMusic EducationThe Piano on Channel 4 – The Cross-Eyed Pianist

The Piano on Channel 4 – The Cross-Eyed Pianist

I admit I used to be ready to hate this collection on Channel 4 (and, full disclosure, I used to be interviewed for the programme by somebody from the manufacturing firm final summer season). It was made by the identical manufacturing firm which introduced us The Nice British Bake Off, one other collection which I’ve come to detest, and was billed as “Bake Off for beginner pianists”. Oh expensive.

The essential premise of the collection was to showcase the pianistic skills of strange individuals by means of their performances on road pianos at railway stations in London, Leeds, Glasgow and Birmingham. Unbeknownst to those beginner pianists, their performances had been being watched by “the world’s biggest pianist” Lang Lang and one-hit marvel singer-songwriter Mika. The collection is offered by Claudia Winkelman.

The programme makers wished us to consider that these performances had been completely spontaneous, however the truth is the individuals needed to undergo an audition course of and had been then chosen for the programmes. Additionally, the instrument on which they performed was not the same old moderately beat up, out of tune road piano of the sort which this text moderately rudely describes, however a moderately good Boston (Steinway’s diffusion vary) upright.

Nevertheless, none of this issues within the least as a result of it rapidly turned evident that the actual pleasure and energy of this programme lay within the individuals, their again tales, and naturally their music. Simply as in Bake Off, the individuals had been a combined bunch, from the younger to the very outdated. There have been some actually heart-warming moments, reminiscent of a 92 yr outdated man who performed the piano to speak along with his spouse who had dementia, or the younger man who had discovered consolation in music, following the suicide of his father.

Throughout every episode, a younger skilled pianist good friend of mine would message me to rail on the lack of “correct classical music”, and whereas I too had hoped for extra Chopin or a drop of Mozart, it was evident that this collection was about individuals and their reference to the music they performed, and why it was so significant or particular for them.

Plenty of the individuals had taken up the piano in the course of the covid lockdowns as a method to fill the excruciating sameness of these lengthy, darkish days. Others had been enjoying all their life. Some had been self-taught. However all discovered pleasure, fulfilment and private achievement in enjoying, whatever the style of music or their means.

In episode two we meet Lucy, a blind lady with extreme studying disabilities however with a outstanding pure aptitude for the piano. Her efficiency of Chopin’s B-flat minor Nocturne held the viewers at Leeds station spellbound, and it was fairly evident that Lang Lang was genuinely moved by her efficiency, together with the various others who watched her enjoying. She was supported by her trainer Daniel, who works with a charity referred to as The Amber Belief, which gives musical alternatives for blind and partially sighted youngsters, and youngsters with extra complicated wants.

The ultimate episode of the collection was a particular live performance by which the “winners” (though this wasn’t actually a contest – and positively nothing like several expertise present offered by the likes of Simon Cowell) carried out at London’s Royal Pageant Corridor. As soon as once more, Lucy’s extraordinary expertise shone by means of, this time in her mesmerising efficiency of one in every of Debussy’s Arabesques. However all of the performers performed with a  dedication and emotion, which actually transmitted to the viewers. On the finish of the live performance, Lucy was awarded star participant (in a, beautiful low-key means) after which Lang Lang and Mika made a particular announcement: every participant was to be gifted an acoustic piano.

Reactions on social media are a testomony to the enchantment and energy of music, as individuals had been genuinely moved and amazed by all the performers on this collection. The extra relaxed, spontaneous means of presenting music, on a road piano, will, I’m certain, remind those who music is for everybody and one needn’t enter a proper live performance venue to expertise the marvel. Lastly, this present should absolutely increase the profile of the piano and music basically at a time when classical music, specifically, is underneath assault – and that needs to be A Good Factor.

As the assorted performers demonstrated, by means of an extremely eclectic vary of music and talent, it’s not about successful; it’s about doing one thing that you just love and discovering fulfilment, consolation, self-improvement, and above all pleasure in what you do.



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