Last Saturday (Oct.29th), I went to Miller Theater to see pianist, Christopher Taylor perform Gyorgy Ligeti’s “The Complete Piano Etudes”. The etudes were in three books that have spanned over 25 years.
Christopher Taylor began with Book 3 and 2 and closed with Book 1. I was completely blown away. I’ve know the Ligeti Etudes to be very difficult but for one individual to play them all was astonishing. I was even more impressed by that fact that Christopher Taylor performed Book 1 completely by memory. Taylor is a passionate and deeply musical performer. He had an amazing ability to change moods and take you on a journey within one etude. I was so moved by the opening work in Book 3 called “White on White” (1995) that I felt tingles and began to weep. I’m an emotional person but I certainly don’t weep at every concert I see.
Some of the pieces were mind-boggling. The technical facility one would be required to have in order to play such pieces as Ligeti Etudes is daunting to most inspiring pianists. I believe it’s known that Ligeti himself is rather picky about who performs his Etudes in public. I think that says a lot about Christopher Taylor’s musical and technical abilities.
I have to confess that I have only heard one Ligeti Etude in my life and that Saturday night’s performance was the first time I heard all of them. I was moved, overwhelmed and down right crazed after Christopher Taylor’s performance. I couldn’t help myself from jumping out of my seat and yelling like some teenybopper at a pop concert. Though some audience members might of thought I was crazy, I don’t think Christopher Taylor minded the cheers and hollers.