Sensitive? Really? Makes me wonder.
Let’s look at that word.
Visualize two performers on stage, one of whom is a pianist. What are you expecting to hear?
Of course you want both performers to be together. That aspect of a pianist’s performance could be described as “sensitive.”
But is that all you are there to hear? Or do you expect more?
Do you expect to hear what the pianist is doing?
Do you expect the performers to be an equal match? To have the same interpretation?
Do you want to hear the performers tossing musical ideas back and forth like a tennis ball?
Do you expect the piano to be the dominant part when the writing indicates that the piano part is more important?
When two people arrive independently at their own best interpretation,
the audience hears the exciting result.
When you stop at “sensitive” and don’t want “more,” this is what you get.
Wallpaper. The pianist is in perfect sync with the soloist, but how can you tell, really?
The pianist has nothing to say. No point of view. May as well not be there. Beige. Goes with everything.
Playing so softly and benignly as to be described as “sensitive” is never appropriate, even in your own living room with the audience seated on your couch.
So when I hear an audience member describe a pianist as “sensitive,” I wonder. Does that term come from not being capable of saying anything else? Or was the pianist a missing link?
What do you expect to hear when you attend a performance? How did you respond to hearing unevenly matched performers? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Labor Day weekend!
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