Yesterday early evening, after Opera Chic strolled through via Belfiore (one of her favorite shopping streets by Piazza Wagner), she ducked into mega bookstore La Feltrinelli to check-out the stacks. Oh how fortunate that the glorious fates had ordained Ramin Bahrami to also make a stop at La Feltrinelli, where he coincidentally was making a publicity stop along his current Italian tour.
The Iranian pianist, at 31-years-old (although he would instantly get carded for cigarettes in any NYC deli) has already accomplished a good amount of recordings, making a nice show with Decca with The Art of the Fugue, The Goldberg Variations and Bach’s Partitas.
The book store had cleared its special promotion area (a raised stage on the first floor at the back), and had placed a shiny black grand piano in the center. At a table to the right of the piano sat Bahrami and La Repubblica journalist Angelo Foletto, engaged in a microphone Italian conversation. Bahrami explained that had spent much of his formative years studying music and piano in Milan, studying at Conservatorio, and later participating in master classes with Andràs Schiff, Robert Levin and Rosalyn Tureck.
Bahrami’s Italian flowed effortlessly, with giddy little jokes thrown into the mix. His messy, big black quaff of hair sat sloppily over his glasses, with big, chubby hands and face sticking-out of a silky Nehru jacket. He looks like he would be more comfortable sitting in front of an LCD playing Guitar Hero on ps2, eating out of a bucket of take-away friend chicken, with some Red Stripe cooling on the side. Or out with his mother at the mall buying new sweatpants. He's impossible to categorized.
Anyway, he spoke about his first impression of hearing Glenn Gould when he was younger, and how it struck him so deeply having never heard anything like it before. He then spoke about all the lessons he learned from the great piano players that had come before him, categorizing their styles into useful pointers that he took in stride. He then spoke about using different kinds of pianos and harpsichords for implementing different effects, but the limitations of concert halls that impede accommodating the purists.
To summarize, if there was anyone in the audience that couldn't understand the conversation, it would have sounded like this:
Foletto: Bach BACH bach BACH B A C H b a c h fugue?
Bahamin: Baaaach. B a c h. F u g u e. Bach bach. Bach.
Foletto: Bah. ch.
Then Bahrami ended the conversation and went to the piano. He played two fugues and one canon, and then explained the intent behind each line, melody, and technique. At the conclusion, he played an encore in recognition of a friend that had helped him greatly. I'm lazy and wasn't really listening, so I didn't catch the name, but it's like an xmasy English carol or New Years greeting thing.
Tonight Bahrami plays live at Auditorium (Largo Gustav Mahler/Corso San Gottardo) "Johann Sebastian Bach, The Art of the Fugue", and Opera Chic won't be there. Have fun, suckers!!11!!!