Saturday, September 01, 2007

Eternal Setting Sun

Quite a bit of net noise of the US side, about the Eternal Sonata, has been heard recently. I did try the demo, found it chop socky, but I do feel warm and fuzzy at this latest sign of Japanese obsession with Szopen-san. ( like to spell it the normal way.. also, Mazurkis makes me squirm, it's Mazurki, that's the nice proper plural). BTW, Polka means either the crazy Czech dance, or simply, a Polish woman, like moi. The character in the game wears Dutch get up, complete with clogs- what a modernist approach.
Not that I ever understood why Japan hearts Szopen so much, and they keep turning up in droves at the International F C Competition every four years. Surely enough, there must be something to it, it's not just a thing for all things Western classical. Here, let me eat another bit of supremely tasty, ridiculously expensive Ryujin umeboshi plum...


... mmmm... ume. But, still not a clue.
One interesting thing is, who is the pianist providing the soundtrack in this game. Stanislav Bunin. Станислав Станиславович Бунин. Ha! His father's name was Stanislav, too! I knew he would "go places".
Not in any normal sense. His career as a pianist has been - not so much, which is notable becuase usually, once you win the IFCC, and at such a young age, the doors of great concert halls will open wide. Heck, even if you DON'T win... ask Ivan "Exploding Cancer Liver" Pogorevic. (my, he is crazy..)
But the thing is, I vividly remember that particular competition. I was in Poland, after all, tinkling the ivories with my tiny little hands. And I remember very well my teacher, Ms Krystyna Serafin, bless her soul, telling me that Bunin played heavy handed, and it was all political- a Russian had to win, even with other competitors being better. Of course, she was a in-your-face anti-Commie flare, just like the rest of us, I remember her playing at our Independence Day (November 11) concerts, but she knew piano playing and had a good ear (and bloody perfect pitch- it unnerved me to no end, when I hit a wrong key, to hear her scream from another room "It's G!"- how could she possibly know every note I played in every piece... later on, a gentleman who arrived to tune my piano, and who knew her as a child told me the secret).
Now, things being back to normal, it even happened that a Poland's own Rafal Blechacz won two years ago, and apparently totally on merit. (the link is to an NPR story with audio- and I have to give it to this NPR guy, he pronounces RB's name well enough).
Too bad in opera, it's still political.
And Bunin has settled in Japan, and is doing good. Good for him, he looked like a lost but honest soul. And I still love playing Szopen, not that I get to do it often enough- no piano at home- and not that I should. He had hands like gorilla, mine are small, and arpeggios are not the same as grabbing these big fat chords in one swoop.
I'm off to- no, I will NOT play the Bioshock game demo again. After I clubbed down some mutant with the crowbar, I got stuck at a door that would not open. I will probably continue to get my brain fried, reading Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.
Nephilim just got mentioned, and in a super cool context.
What a total mind f&ck, like nothing I ever read....

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