|Sara Krulwich/The New York Times|
I was thinking about why the idea appeals to me. As performers, we are creative in our interpretation of composers' musical creations. I love listening to different interpretations and working out my own interpretation of a piece. A creation like "Three Pianos" goes in a different direction, interpreting, but also changing and adding things to the original.If it's successful it can add to the audience's experience of a piece or help them take a fresh look at something familiar.
Jeremy Denk, concert pianist, wrote a blogpost about program notes in which he said, "I’ve never been a big fan of the 'imagine how revolutionary this piece was when it was written' school of inspiration. For my money, it should be revolutionary now. (And it is.) Whatever else the composer might have intended, he or she didn’t want you to think “boy that must have been cool back then.” The most basic compositional intent, the absolute ur-intent, is that you play it NOW, you make it happen NOW." I agree, and, having sat through many sleepy performances of famous works, I know it doesn't always happen. The times when that NOW happens are magical, electric. They are the concerts you remember forever.
But, I also like the reinvention of familiar pieces through alteration. No, it doesn't always work. No, not everyone is going to like it. But it makes people think and feel. Three Pianos is apparently closing in a few days. Since I'm in Chicago, I won't be seeing it.