A quick storm blew in yesterday evening—the sky darkened, the wind whipped up, heavy rain fell—and then departed as quickly as it came, leaving in its wake a bright and fast-fading rainbow in the eastern sky. At ten o'clock, Will called and asked me to drive over and pick him up at his friend Ted's house. The car radio was tuned to Minnesota Public Radio and Radu Lupu playing Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major. As we pulled into the driveway at home, Will commented, "This is really good." I stopped the car but left the radio on, and Will sat with me listening to the rest of the first movement. "Schubert," Will concluded, resorting to his own special frame of reference, "was the Ben Folds of classical music." When the movement was over, we got out of the car and stood for a moment under a clear sky full of brilliant stars and the glow of a waxing moon.
If you have about five and a half minutes to spare, click here for a video of pianist Sa Chen playing the first movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 664 in the final round of the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Unfortunately, Lupu's recording, which won a Grammy award in 1994, is now only available in the U.S. as an expensive ($34) import.