How good Maria Joao-Pires is, I thought to myself with surprise, while listening to this: Mozart's piano concerto No. 9, the Jeunehomme ('the young man", 1777), the middle movement, Andantino ("somewhat walking").
She isn't boring at all, I said to myself with surprise, but most amazingly, gently touching, sensitive and wise! And: how wrong have I been all my life thinking otherwise! How unjust!
But then I returned home, got out the album and, having listened to it several times through, had to concede that Maria Joao-Pires was, after all, incredibly dull. It hadn't her rendition of Mozart that was so great; nor even the Mozart himself; it had been the view out of the window: the sun slowly leaning towards the evening, the light turning golden, then somewhat orange, then orangish-russet-red, shadows growing in the world, breeze rising off the sea, white clouds' reflections on the bay, their most Piero-della-Francesca liquid edges in yellowish grey.
Such evenings are rare even here.
On such evenings, even Maria Pires sounds good.
And the lessons in aesthetics? It is this: when you think something moves you, double check: are you entirely sure that what moves you is what you think moves you, or could it be something entirely else happening at the same time, in parallel, possibly even unnoticed?