R.I.P. Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) – The Piano in Question

I was very sad to read just now of the death of writer, humorist, director and polymath Dr Jonathan Miller who has passed away at the age of 85. The papers are already filled with tributes to Jonathan Miller to which I’ll add a personal recollection that made a big impression on me when I was young and which makes me remember Dr Miller with great fondness.

While I was at school I was captivated by the BBC TV series, directed and introduced by Jonathan Miller, called the Body in Question.

This episode, first broadcast in 1978, shows Dr Miller at the piano with Dudley Moore, his old friend from Beyond the Fringe. They’re exploring the mysterious process by which pianists manage to put their fingers on the right keys without apparently consciously thinking about the mechanical operations involved or even looking at the keyboard. Practice seems to program the hands so that the translation from sheet music to sound becomes second nature, but to those without the ability to effect the transformation (like myself), the process still seems almost miraculous.

R.I.P. Jonathan Miller (1934-2019)

3 Responses to “R.I.P. Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) – The Piano in Question”

  1. I loved The Body in Question, and also Miller’s productions in the BBC Shakepeare. I was lucky enough to see one of his small experimental operas (a friend had written the music) which re-enacted a Roman orgy. I got soaked in wine…….

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