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Flying via Heathrow, I stopped to play the piano

The Siberian pianist Svetlana Ponomareva was passing through London’s biggest hub on her way to Omsk when she saw a piano that said ‘play me’.

‘Anything Valentina Lisitsa can do in railway stations, I can do in airports,’ she thought. So she played it. And filmed. And sent to Slipped Disc. Of course.

Someone asked if she was Daniel Barenboim.


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  1. Not Barenboim, but a more than adequate Max Morath or Eubie Blake doppelgänger.

  2. Scott Joplin implores us “not to play ragtime too fast”.

    • Svetlana says:

      But the maintenance agent who filmed, not. ;-)

      • Galen Parker says:

        I perform at a number of ragtime festivals, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Joplins “Fast” is a relative term. I’ve heard much slower and much faster versions of this piece! Svetlana’s rendition of the Mapleleaf Rag was played an average tempo with respect to the festival performances. Nice job Svetlana…now come back and finish up with the last 2 strains!

  3. Theodore McGuiver says:

    Good stuff, but too fast. What does Daniel’s twin sister actually look like? The irony in the link of a Union Flag piano stool in front of a CafĂ© Rouge is wonderful: Britain is a country which, in my youth, manufactured pretty much everything but now doesn’t even make the souvenir red plastic telephone boxes it sells in the airport.

  4. Marguerite Foxon says:

    Good on her! Anything to improve airport waiting time!

  5. Love the comeback on the complaints about speed… :-)

  6. Galen Parker says:

    Svetlana’s performance is right on. Scott Joplins’s comment about playing slow needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all this is a relative term. I perform regularly at ragtime festivals, and this rendition was delivered at tempo quite in line with the average peformanace at a festival. What is slow compared to other ragtime music…Andante, Tranquillo, Adagio, Larghetto, Grave, Lento, or Largo? Nice job Svetlana

    • You’re right, but when conceiving it as an accompaniment to ragtime dance, which it could have been in the original, the slower tempo might be more appropriate. Either way it is fun.

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