What are you looking for in pieces of new piano music? Robert Taub

Robert Taub
Photo by Miles Truesdell

I look for a certain razz-ma-tazz like the Chopin Nocturne part of Milton Babbitt‘s Second Piano Concerto. I want the notes to leap off the page, dance around with my fingers on the keyboard, and enter my heart, brain, and soul at the same time. I want the music to excite me, to play with my ears like the opening of Jonathan Dawe’s Wharton Center Concerto, and say “follow me, I’ll take you on a ride you won’t forget.” I want to be swept along in a wave of undeniable enthusiasm, like playing the Hammerklavier Sonata at tempo, which, although the piece is old, makes it sound new and fresh every time. And I want this to happen whenever I sit down to play a new piece, even when it becomes old and more new pieces have leapt aboard.