My first piano recital.

Today, I watched Maksim.

I’d have to admit it was a last minute invite and I was a little apprehensive about attending – one man and one piano didn’t sound too exciting. Think one man and one piano and I picture the sad pianist at a departmental store or a restaurant (or even Changi Airport, there’s one) who’s always ignored by everyone else.

I went anyway, solely because I hadn’t met my friend Debbie in ages.

(Random rant; there were NO SIGNS from Esplanade MRT that pointed me to the Esplanade Theaters? And nobody at Esplanade Exchange was capable of giving me directions?)

So back to the point – I’m glad I went! I arrived late so I had to wait for the interval. (I heard I missed Flight of the Bumblebee :<) Debbie came out totally gushing about Maksim and to be honest I thought she was just trying to be polite (haha sorry Debs…)

Until I watched this guy. He has really mastered the piano. I’m amazed at how focused he is on his art (can I call it an art?). Maksim has complete mastery of all 88 keys and the 3 pedals on that grand piano (I suppose it’s a standard piano); and the sounds that came from those ten fingers striking the keys in different combinations and permutations blended so well that I was utterly stunned.

In one piece he is sometimes treating the piano with such gentleness, like he’s close to caressing each key; sometimes consumed with so much intensity that he looks like he’s incessantly hammering the keyboard; sometimes running across it lightly and swiftly on a glissando; sometimes hunched over; and ever so often looking up into the sky (or… ceiling, for that matter) as if completely possessed by some piano god that I had never had the fortunate opportunity of meeting while I was trying to learn the piano say, a good 15 years back.

The sheer speed of which he could play was jaw-dropping – I can’t imagine the amount of coordination one needs. Sometimes your left hand plays the melody, sometimes your right.

Whatever it was, he was so intensely focused on his fingers, and the keys, and the music they produced. I have newfound respect for pianists now.

One thing that kind of ruined everything though, was that he was playing to audio tracks. I thought that was such a spoiler – here we have a fantastic, technically trained pianist who deserves to be backed by other musicians live – and he was playing to… a CD.

Other than that, my first piano recital experience was AWESOME.

Thank you, Maksim. (& Debs.)

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