Unfortunately culled from a third generation copy of an old analog tape recorded on my boom box in David's Hollywood apartment on 7/3/88 (and consequently having noticeable tape hiss), this particular piece of insane classical piano music is nonetheless without question the one thing that I would grab first if my house was burning down.
Like many of David's performances, "The Fiend" was a completely improvised classical piano piece, composed as David was playing it. That, of course, is amazing enough to me – that a human mind could create and translate spontaneous musical ideas through the fingers that quickly.
On this performance, though, David gradually started doing something beyond that, playing some of the craziest classical music I have ever heard. At one point, the music seems to become a living, breathing entity in its own right, leaving the musician a mere sidebar, a servant forced to keep feeding it. The mix of beautiful flourishes and wild ferocity, delicate sensitivity and cacophonous, fiercely psychotic piano pounding, and stream-of-consciousness emotional fluidity are all just stunning in this piece.
I have heard David do this kind of thing before. What is most unique about this particular piece, however, is that this time it got recorded. He was unaware that the tape recorder was on.
Is David Rotter one of those brilliant but insane classical composers like David Helfgott, the musician portrayed in the movie “Shine?” You decide. This piece is well worth the 99 cents for its glimpse into the vast potential of the human mind. For best results, listen to it all the way through alone in complete darkness.
SIDE NOTE: The echo effect on this piece was the result of David hanging a mic down into his white baby grand, sending the signal through a guitar effects rack, and out through a keyboard amp so that the echo was heard live in the room as he was playing.