Saturday, January 25, 2014

Van Cliburn in Moscow, 1962

     In the year 1962,  the pianist Van Cliburn performed Chopin's Fantasy in F minor in Moscow. Much of the leadership of the Soviet Union was in attendance, including Nikita Khrushchev.  That peformance has been preserved to us.

     It is interesting to think of the times in which that concert was given.  1962 was the year of the Cuban missile crisis; space programs and proxy wars were being carried out by the United States and the Soviet Union; and the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, was released that year.

     It is more interesting to watch the performance and its effects on the participants -- there are moments when Khrushchev's reactions to the music can be observed, and other moments when one can watch the response -- or perhaps the lack of response -- of the other listeners.

     It is further interesting to listen to the music and feel one's own response, and to realize the power of music to create a commonality in human consciousness that crosses barriers of culture and time.

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