Wednesday, September 28, 2005

With All Fours!

No, not talking about crawling around on all fours - but performing on an organ, with all fours! I stumbled upon a video of Claudia Hirschfeld playing on the Wersi Scala electric organ, the song 'Harem', by Sarah Brightman (available on her album of the same name). I, of course, know that one plays an organ with both hands, and also both feet, but - pardon my being somewhat little-exposed to live performances - I have never seen anyone playing an organ to such an animated extent (the only person I recall to have seen playing an organ live, was my piano teacher; I was about 8 yrs old then)
Since the song started off slow, the performance was fairly on the average at first - Claudia Hirschfeld played with 1 hand and both hands alternately, her right hand leaving the keys frequently to press buttons on the control panels. As the song gradually increased in tempo, volume and the number of "instrumentations", her movements also increased in number and magnitude. For the first half of the performance, her right foot was almost all the time on a larger rectangular pedal - for volume fine-tunes I presume - and the other was stepping on the black-and-white pedals that resemble an octave of keys. After the bridge, however, 'Harem' took a turn for the incredible mix of strong dance-beats and elaborate ochestrations. That was when she started stepping on the key-paddles with both feet, as if her feet were playing a piece on their own, while her hands flew about the two-level keys and the control panels to constantly change the instrument sounds, so as to make up for the elaborate ochestration and numerous instruments used in the actual song. The result, is a song that is almost as impressive as Sarah Brightman's original (which was accompanied by a full ochestra).
What took me the most, is the fact that Claudia Hirschfeld could manipulate the keys, the controls and the pedals - all at the same time - while rocking her body to the rhythm and smiling at the audience! All her four limbs were dancing, each to its own choreography, but all synchronized to the same beat. And what more - she wore heels that were (to my best estimation) no lesser than 4 inches high! Bravo!

Talk about multi-tasking! Talk about parallel-processing! The only other such musical multitasking that wrought a deep impression in me, was that of Bert (Dick van Dyke) in the opening scene of Mary Poppins (1964), where he had all kinds of instruments tied around his body in the most creative manner - and he played them all at once, using his hands, arms, elbows, knees, you name it, and singing at the same time too. Incredible indeed - but that was in an animated movie - not live.
Qualitative Research question for the day: Ahhhem. Too in awe to think of one today.

No comments: