January 15, 2014

Good Wed. -2 here.

Yokelly we watched a good documentary about the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Amateurs called They Came to Play. 75 pianists were selected to compete based on recordings they submitted. After the first round of recitals, 25 were selected by the panel of judges to play a second recital. From these 6 were chosen to compete for first prize. The film follows several of the competitors from before the beginning of the competition through to the final play-off. The interviews are fascinating, as none of the competitors are professional pianists. Two were physicians, one was a lawyer, one was a jeweler, one owned a glass company in Oklahoma, one managed rentals in Oakland, one was a retired physicist, one was a former French tennis champion, some were business executives, and so forth. Some were old, some were young.

What they had in common was a love of the piano. All of the competitors shown in the film are excellent pianists. Many of them probably could have been professional if they had wanted a different lifestyle of constant practice and travel. The film follows the group as they begin the competition and proceed through the levels of competition, some of them peeling off after a performance you might think was terrific but the judges deemed slightly less good than those of other competitors. Anyway, I’ve collected piano recordings for 50 years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pam likes to hear piano but has other interests and she thoroughly enjoyed it. The human interest is the primary draw, though the music is wonderful. Well worth watching. We got it from the library.

They Came To Play dvd

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