Okay. I’m going to go out on I limb, here, and offer an interpretation, because, hey, we’ve got to start somewhere and this could be interpreted in any number of ways. So, here is how I read it: Emanuel Ax brings a dependable quality to his performances. That seems reasonable, I think. Sure. Why not?
Implying: dependability really means flat, monotone, or tempered. But then again, what the hell is “flatness of the highest order” supposed to mean? Let’s see. Or more likely, let’s not and say we did.
Weird. It’s as if scores impart information. And who knew that performers actually follow what’s on the printed page? Geesh! The more you know...
To continue, Ax’s flat (?) dependability is interrupted by outbursts, which tend (?) to obscure genteel “things” written in the score, which are subsequently played. Clear enough. [Ahem]
Right! He had “outbursts of musical temperament,” remember? Or were those written in the score, too, implying that the outbursts were independent of the score?
I think Lacan would have something to say about Schumann’s fulfilled desire for Clara.
As happens from time to time, or simply all the time, the issue, I think, is that composer and performer--more appropriately, interpreter—are being confused. Is Ax being temperamental? Or is Schumann being temperamental?
More on point, if Ax is being temperamental, then what the fuck is this dependability thing?
Well, maybe Ax is dependable in that regard. You know, making sure those glimpses (which are flat and/or glossy?) aren’t obscured by his own outbursts.
Where were we, again? Oh right: Huh?
Uh, hold on. Looking at the score, I’m hard-pressed to call any of it firmly in C major. (Here’s just the first page; I dare you to call it a burst.) But, then again, scores exist for performers to ignore.
That’s it! Maybe Ax is dependably ignoring the score, which he follows sometimes, but only during moments of genteel veneer.
Fate, ruins, Clara, olives, Beethoven, Im Lengendenton, An die Ferne Geliebte: whatever. After all this, I demand to know about Ax’s dependability!
Dependably imposing anachronisms without imposing anachronisms?
Oh. Dependably imposing anachronisms without imposing retrospective anachronisms that dilute his musical identity, which sometimes comes in outbursts of musical temperament that don’t obscure glimpses of genteel veneer the score requires, which is then to be played. Got it.
Uh. In other words, Ax's tone quality wasn't dependable?
The piano wasn’t dependable!
Random, closing sentence shrouded in irony.