Piotr Anderszewski. Un voyageur intranquille.

Trains and piano. I could take a trip by train forever, never quite stop, and be the happiest man.

This is what Bruno Monsaingeon’s documentary does (yes, the same Monsaingeon of Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations Documentary of yesteryear) with Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski.

In the documentary, Anderszewski goes around Poland, then on to Budapest and finally to Paris and Lisbon, on a special cart of a Polish train he adapted, with his piano. On his way, he plays, he stops in Poznań, Budapest, Warsaw, Zakopane, Paris, Lisbon and gives recitals. He visits his Hungarian grandmother, he explains how he couldn’t take any Chopin and how Chopin, trains, snow, war and Europe seemed intertwined. He deplores lost Warsaw. He explains how he quite piano and how he came back.

But mostly, he travels and travels.

We watched this movie with María Clara for hours and hours – I got it in Berlin right after being in Cracow, Zakopane, Wrocław, Poznań, with my head and heart full of Poland. We then watched it again with Roman, with my father, with some other dear people.

This youtube teaser has some of it. The movie’s train scenes are the best in the world.


The Art of Transcription.

The discussion is endless, just as for the Art of Translation. One may go at infinity discussing Liszt’s transcriptions of entire Beethoven symphonies to one or two pianos, or transcriptions of Beethoven of his own works (the Violin Concerto transcribed to piano by B himself as a way to vent his anger at someone else’s bad transcription – in a move somehow reminiscent of Cervantes’ second part of Quixote).

In 1985, for the Third Centennial of Bach’s birth, a Russian violinist, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, transcribed the Goldberg Variations (originally for keyboard) for a trio of violin, viola and cello.

(Oh, of course, I remember Javier quoting Artem and other Russians on how somehow translations into Russian are usually better than originals 🙂 —- this may be another instance of this…)

The result, while (of course) never replacing the original, is an amazing feat. The voice leading is made somehow clearer in some passages by the timbres of the three instruments.

Enjoy here the fourth variation, at the hands of Julian Rachlin (violin), Nobuko Imai (viola) and Mischa Maisky (violoncello).