May 17, 2013
May 12, 2013
Allow me to indulge in a personal digression (trust me, it's sort of relevant). Every child has thought about its future nuptials in one form or another, and I was certainly no exception. My dream was to get married in Givenchy haute couture after eloping to Cagnes-sur-Mer in France. Possibly more than a little inebriated, my partner and I will stumble into a small chapel, dragging along with us a random witness pulled off the street. After the kindly French priest officially pronounces us Spouse and Spouse, I will hold back the partner’s hair while he discreetly throws up behind the altar, a sign of True Love indeed. Dinner will be comprised of two bottles of Château d’Yquem (each bottle a vintage from our birth years), fresh seafood and a tarte au citron. After frolicking around the Côte d'Azur, we will return home, happy and bronzed. One month later, we will probably get divorced.
What was I trying to say there in that overlong, possibly TMI, digression? Simply put, I think I am prone to strongly responding to what is colloquially known as the "honeymoon stage" in multiple areas of life, not least of all figure skating. Exhibit A: Yuzuru Hanyu.
May 1, 2013
The great pianist Krystian Zimerman once remarked that Sergei Rachmaninoff's earlier Piano Concertos were "young concertos for young pianists"--that is, these concertos are laden with the violence and ecstasy of youthful emotions, before said youths learn to control and hide their emotions on the path to what is deemed 'maturity.' In Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, for instance, we listeners experience everything from the sweet tenderness of first love (Adagio sostenuto) to the violence of hormonally-charged lust (Moderato) and the soaring heights of first forays into onanistic pleasures (Allegro scherzando) in an intensely visceral and personal way. Accordingly, Mr. Zimerman noted that when playing such concertos, control is the one thing he is not aiming for in his performances: "You don't play the Rachmaninoff concertos; you live them."
Transpose that sentiment into figure skating ("you don't skate the Rachmaninoff concertos, you live them"), and that to me captures the number-one thing that is missing from the vast majority of the many, many figure skating programs (however competently choreographed on paper) set to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos (almost always the Moderato and Adagio sostenuto movements of Piano Concerto No.2): the lack of emotion, intensity, abandon, life. The music demands that heartstrings be rended and emotions put through the blender, but what we often get instead is a disconcerting disconnect between the intensity and passion of the music and the precise, measured movement and projection of the skater. Before we leap to blame the erstwhile punching bag that is the IJS, it should be noted that dull figure skating programs set to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 were a dime a dozen even before the IJS was a glint in Mr. Cinquanta's eye. Moreover, in some ways, we can hardly blame skaters for not going emotionally all-out in a competitive setting as figure skating is a sport that demands technical precision and concentration by virtue of the extremely difficult task of launching onself up into the air and rotating multiple times using only a slender metal blade.
Mar 21, 2013
Clearly, it is time to officially induct Mr. Amodio's long program from the first half of last season to the Morozombie Hall of Infamy.
Mar 18, 2013
My personal favorite performances from this season, and the ones I'll return to when I'm old and doddery with more teeth than braincells. The list, in no particular order: