A Musical Waugh

BBC Four is rebroadcasting a 2006 production entitled The Piano: A Passion. This is presented by Alexander Waugh. Here’s the description:

Alexander Waugh has been passionate about pianos ever since he was a small boy. Fuelled by an insatiable curiosity about the roots of his musical addiction, he sets out in search of other like-minded piano-obsessives to discover what it is about this instrument that has the power to turn seemingly rational people into compulsive lifelong piano junkies.

Framed and punctuated by Alexander’s effort to teach a novice to play the piano in a week, the film follows him on his quest around the concert halls and homes of classical and pop pianists like Paul Lewis, Jools Holland and Damon Albarn as well as a wide range of enthusiastic amateurs, including a child prodigy, a pilot and a national newspaper editor.

Alexander’s grandfather disliked music and found listening to it painful. Perhaps he was tone deaf. He once declined an invitation extended by Igor Stravinsky to attend a premier performance of a new work because, as he explained, he would be unable to enjoy it. Whatever it was that put Evelyn Waugh off music does not seem to have been inherited by Alexander.

The program is available on BBC iPlayer for about 4 weeks and can be streamed from this link. A UK internet connection is required.


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