The New Criterion is a scintillating diamond in the rough of our contemporary culture.
What other publication do we have that would think to publish a piece devoted purely (and simply) to extolling the virtues of piano-playing?
There is wisdom, so I say, let us play the piano. Non-verbal music reaches into the depths of the unconscious. There is nothing so satisfactory for our hands—physically, sensuously, and artistically—as playing the piano. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of playing a small piece of Bach or Schumann. If you can’t play a Bach invention perfectly, or even imperfectly, try to do it, and you will come to agree with me. The path to such an achievement asks for focus, discipline, attention, a delicate sense of touch, musical feeling, and more. Good practicing is meditation without the mantra. When you commune with Bach or Schubert, you can reach the heights of Mount Parnassus, where the atmosphere is rarified.