I today – 2012-4-19 – learn that Pauline Belviso-O’Connor, the subject of this post, is ‘in full health’ and teaching piano at the University of Western Australia (see this thread). Mine was a huge mistake. I do ask for pardon.
We were blabbering over at Zeus is watching – with the blog owner and with Paul Costopoulos – about music and a supposed relationship between its rationality and a rationality of the universe. Big deal theme, I know, but crystal-clear Domenico Scarlatti’s music proposed by Zeus was much to the point.
In any case Zeus said:
“Perhaps this is where the Pythagoreans went off the rails, but the Existentialists could help us a little. [...]
I replied something and then Paul observed:
“The video does enhance the complexity of the music. However the very slow motion of the tempo somewhat offsets the brisk musical tempo. A bit unsettling, I dare say.”
I agreed and said:
“You are very right Paul. And, Zeus, Paul, since in music I much prefer a real soul to any philology [I was about to propose a piano performance, but in Scarlatti's time there were no pianos, or very few], this to me is the perfect Scarlatti:
“[Marta] Argerich, and a young Argerich at that, what a marvelous and sensitive pianist.”
At that moment, I don’t know, I made like a mistake, not sensing what was about to happen – mind, this post risks being pathetic, but let me go through with it.
“Paul, Zeus, yes, she was, and still is, one of the Latin goddesses of piano.
Her way of playing reminds me of another goddess, my beloved piano teacher, not at all inferior to her, oh no, though not as beautiful.
Pauline O’Connor was an Irish Australian, a bit graceless maybe especially when compared to very attractive Argerich – O’Connor was a giant by the way – but more powerful, more refined and definitely majestic, only less spontaneous at times due to Benedetti Michelangeli’s too premeditated art.”
[Argerich had instead Vincenzo Scaramuzza as a piano teacher, an Italian Argentine pianist who justly "stressed to her the importance of lyricism and feeling," born in Calabrian Crotone - Κρότων, the city of Pythagoras, it's like this ancient sage's ghost is stalking me ...]
She in any case ‘corrected’ Michelangeli’s extreme classicism with her Celtic passion (see this post on Michelangeli, on Italian classicism – and on her in a comment.) She lived close to Michelangeli for a long time, in Arezzo [where I met her], and, after ending up marrying a Sicilian, a certain Belviso, she went back to Perth.
Her leaving Italy for good depressed me quite a lot. I had lost a great mentor, a big treasure, and, at 18, I guess I was in love with her a bit too.
When I finally found a trace of her 1 month ago here, now that I’m pasting the link, much to my affliction I realise she’s no more.”
What a moron, I’m so absent-minded that I had saved the link to the Australian web page on her but hadn’t read it well. A bit of a blow to me, I will admit.
So, remembering that – in my effort to get back to the guitar a bit – and having found on Youtube a piece of music that in some way is her, or a part of her, I mumbled:
So this is a tribute to her. A totally different music, yes, but it strongly (and weirdly, music is weird) reminds me so much of this Celtic passion side of her, and, ok, not at all of her Michelangelian supreme refinement, but passion, isn’t it often better than refinement? Well, I’d say, the 2 things should be often well intermarried for most rich results, as they certainly were in wonderful, unique, fantastic Pauline.
[And these darn Australians, they make you pay for everything! I'll get those paper clips ... and put her picture at the head of this post, damn!]
[I was wronging the Aussies, registration to the National Library of Australia is free, but you got to be Australian to do it :-( ]
[a writing dedicated to Pauline O’Connor's great piano teacher Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. A comment on it tells fragments of Pauline's story.]