PRELIMINARY NOTE: In this non-review, I spell the composer's name Chaykovskiy, a more accurate English transliteration of the Russian Чайковский than the French Tchaikovsky or German Tschaikowsky.
No, this is not a review. It's a rant. You can also find it on Goodreads. But first, some thanks.
I thank Bob Fazakerly, the long-serving keyboard accompanist at my church, for lending me this not-quite-biography. When I first joined the church, our backup accompanist was Jimmy Mathis, a dear friend of Van Cliburn from their Juilliard days, who is quoted extensively in the book.
I also thank Cliburn himself for recording My Favorite Chopin while still hale and hearty, basking in the afterglow of his inaugural Chaykovskiy Competition victory. His Polonaise in A-flat still gives me spinal shivers of awe. Like Cliburn, Freddy Chopin was a skinny, neurasthenic kid who kept his orientation hidden for years and could get crowds swooning with his playing. Legend has it that, by the time he had finished writing that particular Polonaise, he was too weak from consumption to perform it. (Thanks to you as well, Freddy.)
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