On improvisation and tic-tac boxes

The last time I sat at a piano was a rather long time ago – at least a couple of months. Though growing up with a musically inclined father, my harpsichord lessons every Wednesday afternoon at the conservatory were my personal nightmare for years since I was five, until I moved to Vienna and gave up the harpsichord for the piano (and, later, the drums). The first time I sat in front of my teacher’s piano, with my fingers used to keys that give a certain resistance, I accidentally hammered a light-hearted piece on it and made the walls tremble. What I got was an eyebrow-raise and a warning I should play more gently if i didn’t want to destroy the poor thing by the end of the lesson.

Clearly Düsseldorf-hailing Hauschka did not listen or pay attention to his conservative piano teacher the way I did; in all of his performances, the piano – though a friend – also becomes a foe, an instrument with which to start a battle, a restless horse to be tamed and defeated by the end of the piece. With the help of clips and tic-tac boxes, of things that screech and rattle, his music is at once eerie, enchanting and adventurous.

Hauschka will be playing on April 8th in the beautiful setting of the  Vienna Stadtsaal. It’s bound to be wild and intimate; don’t miss it.

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