excerpt from 'Lies: A Diary 1986-1999' pp. 159-160 (190 words)

excerpt from 'Lies: A Diary 1986-1999' pp. 159-160 (190 words)

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Lies: A Diary 1986-1999

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After supper, we gaze at a segment of 60 minutes featuring three examples of idiot savant... The third, not only retarded but blind, is a pianist. He just began playing one night, on that untuned upright of this foster parents rendering Tchaikovsky's First Concerto. Whatever does it come from? marvels the interviewer. "It's becuase I'm a musician," explains the savant. To "test" this talent, the interviewer plaus for him - and for us - the opening of Debussy's Soirée dans Grenade, which the savant immendiately replays on his upright. The replay, which satisifies the interviewer and, presumably, ten million viewers, is in fact a coarse echo, an iterated C sharp ostinato with some Cui-type D-naturals and augmented seconds. The wonder is not that the savant could imitate Debussy even this well, but that Debussy himself once formed a trite tango, with the merest of "displacements", a nuanced and tasteful masterpiece. This boy plays by ear, no better and no worse than the urchins at JH's church. The 60 minutes program goes on to inform us of the high fees these idiot savants now claim for their gifts. Savants, perhaps. Idiots, hardly.

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excerpt from 'Lies: A Diary 1986-1999' pp. 159-160 (190 words)


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