Binder : The 39 Piano Concertos

Binder’s first piano concerto had no piano part and was not a concerto. There was a piano in the second piano concerto but it was out of tune. The third piano concerto was deafening. The fourth gave Binder the heebie jeebies. Binder’s fifth, or the sixth as it is usually called, was performed in a submarine. Let us draw a veil over the sixth, by which I mean the sixth proper, rather than the fifth, with which it is often confused, performed as it is in a submarine. The seventh is that rare thing, a godawful din. Binder’s eighth, ninth, and tenth piano concertos are audible only to dogs. The eleventh features an electronically modified cat. No animals were harmed in the composition of the twelfth, but the score for the thirteenth piano concerto calls for the ritual slaughter of several otters. The fourteenth is pithy. The fifteenth is punchy. The sixteenth was dedicated to Stalin. The seventeenth is a carbon copy of the ninth. Piano Concerto No. 18 is so vivid it makes grown men weep and grown women have an attack of the vapours. The nineteenth has the charm of a sausage. The twentieth, the brilliant twentieth, is rudderless. Rudders, snapped off boats, are repeatedly and relentlessly bashed on the keyboard during the twenty-first. The twenty-second is popular in prisons. The twenty-third is full of grace. The twenty-fourth was used in a toothpaste advert. The twenty-fifth was written atop an important, stationary mountain. The twenty-sixth is fishy. Binder’s twenty-seventh is his longest piano concerto, a full performance lasting several years. The twenty-eighth consists of a single note, of the performer’s choosing, plinked twice and plonked once. The twenty-ninth is lost. The thirtieth is hidden. The thirty-first tugs at the heart-strings. The manuscript of the thirty-second is rolled up and stuffed into a jam jar, and there is still jam in the jar. The thirty-third is all that the thirty-second is not. The thirty-fourth gallops along like a horse. The thirty-fifth slithers like a worm. Binder said of the thirty-sixth piano concerto “de gustibus non est disputandum”. Raindrops kept falling on Binder’s head while he was writing the thirty-seventh. The thirty-eighth is a biography of Christopher Plummer imagined as a piano concerto. The thirty-ninth steers its way through choppy waters towards an island where brutes disport themselves in wild abandon before sinking into the sea.

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