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the new math of david lanz
so much more than the sum of the parts
by roger striffler
6.23.00
music

I guess, almost by definition, there is no word for complete speechlessness. For stunned silence. For the total inability to describe what you're witnessing. If there were, this article would most certainly be replaced with that word, because it would perfectly describe my reaction to seeing David Lanz perform last night.

And it suprised me, because it wasn't supposed to be a new experience. I'd seen him before. There would be some new material, some killer renditions of older pieces, but nothing earth-shattering. And yet I still somehow found myself completely blown away.

For those of you who are not familiar with David Lanz, he is a pianist. His music is generally categorized as New Age, Adult Contempory, Contemporary Instrumental, New Acoustic...you know, that genre of music that defies any kind of real meaningful classification. His repertoire includes solo piano pieces, ensemble works, and arrangements with full orchestral accompaniment.

Personally, I like his music. I find it passionate, intimate, and powerful. There are pieces that resonate with something inside of me; that can bring me to the edge of tears or the edge of my seat. His music has been a part of my life for many, many years. As a result, I have an extensive collection of his music, and have even had an opportunity to meet and talk with him. He's a great guy.

So clearly, I have a bias. But don't worry, this is not a sales pitch. I'm not trying to convert anyone, and although I think you'd enjoy them, I'm not asking you to run out and buy David Lanz CDs.

You see, this is not about recordings. It's not really about an artist, per se. This is about last night. About sharing a moment in time. As much as I love to listen to his music at home, the magic of last evening was in the performance.

I am sure that there are times when, like all artists, David Lanz struggles with his craft. Times when the notes won't come. When the timing feels awkward. When the music just won't flow. But, on a warm spring night, in a beautiful old theater, in a small city in North Carolina, all of that was hidden from us.

He sat before his piano, his dark horse, and the music came alive. It flowed from somewhere deep inside of him, through his body, to his hands, and seamlessly, to the keys, the hammers, the strings. It rolled forth from the piano, filling the stage, and then the room, washing over the audience in waves.

It seemed to me, that David Lanz and his piano had become one; That he was so familiar, so in tune with, and had such mastery over his instrument that the lines between the two became blurred. His thoughts, desires, hopes, and dreams were transformed instantaneously into sound. Eighty-eight keys, ten fingers, two hands, one soul.

From my seat in the eighth row, it looked as if he didn't even know that we were present; as if he had gone within himself in order to allow what was inside of him to come out. He poured his heart out to us. He told us stories, laughed, cried, and sang, without uttering a single word, and when the music came to an end, he would turn and quietly thank us.

This is not to say that he didn't talk. Between pieces he did tell stories, and laugh, and made us laugh as well. But it was in the glow of a single spotlight, when the man, the piano and the music were one, that David Lanz truly spoke to us.


ABOUT ROGER STRIFFLER

See that job title? Check it out: "Spy". How cool is that? I know, you're probably wondering what it means to be a spy for an international organization like Intrepid Media, huh? Well I'd love to tell you, but I can't. It's all part of the spy game, baby.

more about roger striffler

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