Last night’s Close Range show was a fun one–my first time out for Lachemann’s epic Serynade, the first of many, hopefully. Like other big narratives for solo piano I’ve played, it’s a test of how well I can shape on a big and small scale. Fortunately the piece is all about shaping the piano’s physical sound, and I’m always inspired by the unbelievable sounds I’m hearing, both the played chords and their altered resonances. It’s so well-composed that learning it was simply an act of discovery. Though some problems call for creative solutions, it’s all playable; and while it stretches the instrument’s capability, as in all of Lachenmann’s work, there’s nothing that presents itself as unidiomatic. Unidiomatic would mean ill-conceived, and everything in the piece is conceived with care, curiosity, and love.
I’m happy I paired it with Beethoven op. 110, which builds its own passionate resonances. For me the psychological climax of the sonata is the fugue inversion at the end, especially as it comes after a crisis. It’s a miraculous, unexpected rebirth in a distant key–Beethoven doesn’t specify a dynamic, so I try to start it as softly as possible, the first hints of new life.