'Grace lies in a pure heart'
One hazy İstanbul Sunday back in October '13 a young pianist set out across the rainbow. Shy of seventeen, she played me some musically testing pieces, including the opening allegro of Mozart's F major Sonata, K 332, and Chopin's 'posthumous' C sharp minor Nocturne. It didn't take long to realise that here was someone whose hunger for the notes and her instrument was intense and desperate. She was visibly moved by the patterns and sounds, the poems, she was creating, pained to tears by the beauty of it all, bidding each tableau farewell in silent wonderment. I've rarely heard the middle section of the Chopin done so fabulously, nor the roulades of its final lines articulated so beautifully, each gasping and falling like shooting stars across the sky. Her Mozart was Viennese, refined, and impeccably galante, not a note rushed or a phrase misplaced. It pulsed with a cultured grace, a fluid timing, a way with rests, that most pianists frankly never aspire to. Forget Gould's hysteria, Horowitz's exaggeration, Pires's breathlessness, Larrocha's carefulness. Here was a reading nearer Kraus, Schnabel, Eschenbach. She's a student with a long way to go. The road is tough professionally and can be a jealous, obstructive, cynical one personally. But the signs are promising. Her You Tube viewing is discerning. She compares performances. She follows exemplary models. She recognises temperament when she hears it. She reads the Russian classics. She writes poetry. She has a sense of fantasy and art. Drawn to the piano early though held back until seven, she's had an occasionally fractured history with teachers – which I take only to be another positive: here's a girl who questions and disagrees and burns herself up with passion and doubt because she wants answers and needs direction. Cornered in a dark place... her demons will come out: 'I'm afraid to lose my nerve/I'm afraid to face failure/I'm afraid to say hello to tomorrow/I'm afraid to move the wrong way'. But given encouragement, offered ambitious, achievable opportunity ... and she glows into animation. I shall welcome her blossoming. She has the 'life-blood' that matters - ASLIHAN YİTGİN.
© Ateş Orga 2014
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