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Mar. 19 2012

“Coming to grips with the composer’s central thought”

By Judith Krummeck | Posted in Host Blogs | 2 Comments

You can tell when the big guns come to town by who is in the audience. I saw Leon Fleisher walking up aisle at Shriver Hall yesterday evening during the intermission of Richard Goode’s recital. It’s been a couple of decades since Goode played on the Shriver Hall Concert Series, and it was certainly wonderful to welcome him back. He must be nudging 70 by now but the marvelous thing about pianists is that, like wine, they tend to age well.

Goode did an interesting thing at the start of his program. He opened it with Mozart’s moody c minor Fantasy and then, without a break, went right into the c minor Piano Sonata (K. 457). I don’t think I’ve ever heard the two works so closely juxtaposed like that. It certainly made me listen to them differently.

The recital really came alive for me with the Beethoven “Hunt” Sonata, No. 18. For one thing, it’s one of my favorite sonatas, but also Goode’s performance seemed to rise to another level at that point. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he played it from memory, whereas he had used the score for the Mozarts. In any event, it was a gorgeous reading, and we were all humming the catchy hunting themes during the intermission.

I loved the combination of lyricism and virtuosity that Richard Goode brought to the Chopin selections after intermission—especially the set of waltzes, which he played with such lilting, dance-like energy that made it hard to stay in your seat! It’s a joyous thing to hear music played with the kind of commitment and verve that Goode brought to his whole recital. The quote I used in the subject heading, by the way, is by David Blum from The New Yorker, describing Goode’s playing.

The Shriver Hall Concert Series is in the process of announcing their next season, and we all found certificates on our seats at the start of the concert. A sneak preview shows Europea Galante, violinist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, cellist, Alban Gerhardt, and pianists (both as accompanists and soloists) Piotr Anderszewski, Marc-André Hamelin, Yefim Bronfman and Cecile Licad. Lots to look forward to.

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Judith is WBJC's afternoon host. Her full bio can be read here.

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