by Emery Columna
I can relate to the story of David Helfgott on several levels. Since me and my dad are kool now, I’m not gonna tell the one about Demanding Fathers, although I did flip the Bird at Armin Mueller-Stahl on several occasions throughout the movie because that actor got awful close to where I’ve been as far as fathers go…
The story I’ll share with you is of Anna Maria Trenchi De Botazzi. Mrs. Botazzi was a young piano phenom that used to blast around Buenos Aires in a little Fiat or Alfa Romeo. On one of her rides testing the limits of machine and woman, she encountered a truck backing up into her flight path. Knowing that if she extended her hands to the steering wheel to brace herself, she’d sustain damage that would prevent her from playing the piano, in the split moment of a decision, she chose to go through the windshield rather than let her hands suffer.
Anna Maria Trenchi Botazzi plays piano to this day, a platinum plate in her head. She once related to me how at moments during a concert, she will suffer blackouts beyond the scope of her control…just before she goes black, she says a prayer and then God and muscle memory take over.
Mrs. Botazzi was My piano teacher and imbued me with a love for music I can not explain to you. Mrs. Botazzi also plays Rachmaninoff ‘s Prelude in C# Minor for some of her encores.
On the Rock side, I think of Jason Becker and how he’s suffering, but still pursuing music in defiance of limitations.
Shine stands as a monument to the Artist who suffers for the sake of their Craft.
There are some critics out there that call some performances during Helfgott’s recent tour of America a “sad spectacle”. I think those critics should have their hands cut off. David Helfgott is Bold As Love.
Internet Listening Pleasure: The Rach. 3, Gloria, Prelude in C # Minor, Flight Of The Bumble bee, Sospiro, Appassionata, La Campanella, Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera.
Previously published on Rock Around the World, March 1997