Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Thanks to YouTube I can get an instant musical affirmation/illustration of the very strange and completely over-the top pianist Ervin Nyireghazi, who I am reading about in Kevin Bazzana's biography Lost Genius.
I met some old friends in the book: Richard Kapp, a record producer and pianist who died recently, told me about "discovering" Nyireghazi years ago. I also "met up" with one of my favorite American writers, Theodore Dreiser with whom Nyireghazi shared a friendship and a girlfriend. The tabloid escapades of celebrities of today pale to those of Nyireghazi. It is still shocking to read about the details of his disfunctional childhood, his ten marriages, his addictions, his grandiosity, and his enormous musical personality (which you can hear above).
From reading about the contours and crevices of Nyireghazi's bizarre personality, I can understand why he would have identified with Dreiser's characters, particularly the main character in The "Genius". I can also imagine why Dreiser would have been drawn to him: he was (while he was alive) like a Dreiser character that had suddenly come to life.