The world’s greatest pianist comes to town

Did you know that the world’s greatest pianist–or at least one of the top five, who can really tell?–is coming to St. Paul next Tuesday the 23rd? I wouldn’t either, if the Schubert Club hadn’t sent me the press release. The highest levels of the recital circuit, much less the lowest for that matter, revolve in such tight concentric circles of taste and interest that most folks wouldn’t know Marc-Andre Hamelin from Mark Hamill. It’s not anyone’s fault, per se–except the Beatles, perhaps, for driving us so far down the road to pop oblivion that we forgot a piano can do more than bang out “Long Tall Sally.”

And yet it would seemingly be our loss–the world’s greatest anything entering our airspace would seemingly be big news. Entertainment, however, is relative–who’s to say that the upcoming soldout AC/DC concerts aren’t more bang for your buck–and undoubtedly make a better photo for the paper. Still: His “abilities defy the imagination,” according to the Toronto Star. “Hamelin’s legend will grow–right now there is no one like him,” according to Alex Ross of the New Yorker. To anyone with a catholic interest in music, that’s tough to ignore. Don’t: Heck, when the Dakota is asking $65 to see Boz Scaggs, check out Schubert.org, call the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts at 651-224-4222, and put your $30 toward a once-in-a-generation musical experience.

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