i was understandably sad when Van Cliburn passed away earlier this year but i was even more upset when i went to play my favorite album of his and could not find it anywhere. this album (Rachmaninoff piano concerto #2) was my earliest memory of being aware of the power and dynamics of the piano. from the very first opening chords, it caught my attention. this was the way a piano should be played and i wanted to play this way: moving between the simplicity of a single note line to lighting fast riffs and arpeggios, tender and majestic, brilliant and subtle.
the vinyl album i had growing up eventually was lost in the shuffle of many moves. but then, RCA re-released the entire Van Cliburn catalog on CD and to kick it off sent Van Cliburn around the country on a promotional tour. when they came to San Francisco, i made sure i was there – at the Tower Records in North Beach – to get his autograph. i purchased the last one in stock and stood in line. he was very sweet and cordial. i was a blathering nerd groupie.
so in honor or the Master, i pulled all my old CDs out of the cabinet, went through them one by one, and found it, played it, and had some really great memories. and this is the cover of the album.