Monday, July 18, 2016
Sarah Cahill at Flower Piano
The San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park began a new annual tradition last year called Flower Piano, billed as "twelve days, twelve pianos" dotted around the gardens, played by a mixture of professional musicians and any amateur who wanted to perform themselves. I don't know where the idea for this instantly successful event originated but would not be surprised if it was from somebody who had seen photos of Sarah Cahill (above) performing on a grand piano in a redwood forest at the annual Art in Nature Festival in the Oakland Hills.
I feel ambivalent about the SF Botanical Gardens. Gouging non-San Francisco residents with an admission fee is a recent, greedy development, but it helps keep the place mostly empty and serene for San Francisco residents, which was probably less intentional than an incidental benefit.
On Sunday afternoon, professional Berkeley pianist Sarah Cahill returned for a second weekend concert, playing the music of Debussy and Ravel and Mamoru Fujieda for two hours in a bitter San Francisco foggy wind.
Her daughter Miranda was attending as a spectator but jumped into the breach as a page holder and turner when the zephyrs got out of control.
After the concert, Sarah was her own worst critic. "My fingers weren't working today," she said, but in truth the level of virtuosic execution and musical intelligence was remarkable.
It was obvious just by looking at the quality of the intentive listening from the outdoor crowd.
The park was also filled with longtime fans...
...who would stop her on pathways and gush while the local diva graciously talked to them all.