Today’s Independent described yesterday’s article on Condoleezza Rice’s chamber music playing by Tony Tommasini in the NYTimes as fawning–accurately, it seems to me. Putting aside the question which occupied the writer of the Independent, which is why all of a sudden such pains are being taken to make the Secretary’s warm and human side so obvious these days–good luck– (the work of Karen Hughes, maybe), and on a tiny bit of reflection, I wonder how long those people have been at it. There aren’t all that many piano quintets, really and they don’t seem to have much scratched the surface of the literature yet, since the three pieces they seem to be playing are the best known ones for that combination. Maybe they could look into some others. At the top of my list would be the Faure Quintets, especially the second, which is my favorite Faure chamber piece–except maybe for the trio. Maybe close to that the Elgar. There’s also the Dohnanyi which would be right up Condi’s alley, being an adolescent rip-off of Brahms. The Piston Piano Quintet is one of his best pieces, I think. All of that would be kind of non-threatening. Now let’s see…is there a Feldman Quintet, late or otherwise. Something like that could keep them busy for a while….

I suppose it’s too much to expect that they might start commissioning new piano quintets. (Just think of that…)

But if she’s really into quality and/or Brahms, why not just get rid of one of the violinists (although I suppose that might display a nasty inhuman side) and do the Schumann Piano Quartet (I like it a lot better than the Quintet) and the Brahms Quartets (her favorite, after all–just think what she could do with the last movement of the G minor)–there are three of them, as opposed to only one Quintet.

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