Fuck. He did it. It took 50 fucking years of prep, but the motherfucker actually did it. Wait … hold up. I guess you might need some back story to fully appreciate what the fuck Murray did here.
This shit is Beethoven’s most challenging and technical piece. In the weird world of piano playing, this shit is Everest. Seriously, it is. Some have argued (I have actually read this shit) that it’s not Everest. Because, “Everest is a mountain and this is a piece of music.” Well, duh! You don’t think I know that? Thing is, they say this shit with straight faces. Like they just spit out something smart. Too bad fat pockets and fancy tea parties don’t come with an understanding of comparative imagery. Anywho, back in the day, white-wigged Beethoven put a metronome mark on this motherfucker that most scholars think has to be inaccurate. Does Murray play it at Beethoven’s breakneck pace? Hell to-the-fuck no! Cause it is really, really, fast. Too fast. Like, maybe-historians-are-right-on-this-one, type of fast.
So most big swinging dicks like to come around and play this bitch. Because, you know, alpha-male and alpha-female tendencies didn’t just disappear when we climbed down some trees and learned to twiddle on some keys. It’s a meathead piece. Someone steps up and just pounds the shit out of the piano and then expect lavish admiration after they complete it. The beginning part of this is hard. But if you really want to know where most stumble, you gotta know what a fugue is.
Take a musical theme, any musical theme. Bass line for Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” will do. Then you just complicate the shit out of it in any way possible. But, no matter what you do, the main musical theme needs to be recognizable. That Dum, Dum, Dum, da-da-da dum-da-dum, needs to be heard no matter what. You can play that shit in minor or major, spin that record and play it backwards, add a fuckton of different instruments to it, switch from left to right hand, absolutely anything as long as that motif is still recognizable. Cause of this, fugues are generally show pieces. And this is the showiest of the show pieces. I’ve seen people have to slide across the piano bench back and forth just to play this bitch. It’s so much fun to watch.
So, Murray plays this shit like a fucking legend. Sure, he’s played it before but not like this. He tears down everything this piece is and says, “You know what? How about instead of this being some showpiece how about I make enjoyable?” Oh ya! This album also has the famous moonlight sonata. Cause why not bring on the big hits as well? It’s beautiful. Honestly? Might be one of the best renditions I’ve heard. But man, I love hearing that last song “Presto agitato”. It’s like when the theme music in a video game doubles when time is running out, and then triples when you’re fighting a boss. Oh fuck! It’s too fast! But man, somehow Murray plays this and expresses emotions and shit. He makes the piano feel, he doesn’t just alpha-male this. Now that you know the back story you may know what this guy actually does here. He upholds the art. He did it, man. The motherfucker actually did it. It may have taken 50 years of prep, but he did it. Fuck.