I found one of my flash drives with Keith Jarrett concerts on it. One might think that I, a man with varying musical tastes, might have an assortment of different musics represented on whatever flash drives I might have, but no. It's all Keith Jarrett. Apparently whenever the impulse hits me to put music on a flash drive I invariably think of Keith Jarrett. And more specifically it is his Vienna and Paris Concerts that are on each of the storage devices. These are two of his concerts in which he gets up on stage, alone with a piano, and plays improvisationally for an hour and a half or so. It is a lot of effort for him to do this and he tends to grunt, writhe, buzz, and tunelessly squeak as he creates his dazzling, slightly damaged (by the grunting and squeaking) music.
I have been listening to the Vienna Concert in my car commuting to my job at the library. It's beautiful, intense music, and it requires a lot of concentration. I love it and can't help thinking how extraordinary it might have been to be at that Vienna concert, listening to genius captured in a bottle, and then wandering out into the city of Vienna. I imagine Vienna to be an amazing enough city to rise to the challenge of such a moment.
Something about Keith Jarrett's piano tends to make me think of Chopin. Maybe there's some commonality in the way they make me feel, the way they draw me into the physical piano, its transforming sound, the way they sieve me through the sound, and send me out into some other dream of night. Sleighs in Winter, dark woods, art nouveau cafes, winding alleyways sparkling with stars.
There was a dichotomy that Van Gogh and Gaugin supposedly argued about, and debated over, involving the virtues of painting from the imagination (Gaugin) versus painting from shimmering life (Van Gogh). They even tried one each in the other's style. And this runs through my mind as I wonder at what is more astonishing to me: Chopin setting down and actually imagining and writing the Nocturnes, or Keith Jarrett walking up on stage and writing those concerts on the air.
Both of them seem just beyond the realm of the possible.