Watch: Liberace Plays "Chopsticks"

I'm on a bit of a piano kick recently. I've been driving myself crazy working on arrangements for a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream coming up in a few months where the director wants something very specific. As such, I've been listening and watching appropriate comparable reference material performed in completely different ways. This is no exception. Liberace, the flamboyant piano player who until a few years ago had a whole museum in Las Vegas dedicated to his pianos and fanciful stage costumes, was an amazing musician. That he was able to make such a splash in the entertainment industry as a pianist is nothing short of extraordinary. It was a rare day that he played something as originally written. Even if he didn't change the notes, he had his own way of interpreting the material. This created a transformation with everything he played. He had a unique style that still stands out to this day.

The rudimentary song "Chopsticks" has a long history of being adapted into something much more interesting. The original version was a simple piano exercise for beginning students, intended to be played by a single hand (or both hands in unison at the octave) to practice playing intervals on the piano. It has been adapted time and again to add interest to the simple waltz.

I think Liberace's interpretation might be my favorite. Effortless.

Flick or Skip: The Help (Opens 10 August 2011)

A Chorus Line