Thursday, February 20, 2014

concert review: Murray Perahia

About forty years ago, I attended a concert of Music from Marlboro, part of a touring program given by young musicians who'd participated in that festival-cum-musical-summer-camp in Vermont. One of the pieces, I remember, was Schumann's Piano Quintet, and I was pleased by the pianist, in particular, who seemed immensely talented and likely to have a great career ahead of him. And indeed he did, for his name was Murray Perahia.

Today, as one of the grand old masters, Perahia gave a recital at Davies. I don't often attend piano recitals here, because it's too cavernous a space, but this one was irresistible, and the repertoire was a large part of making it so. We had one of Bach's French Suites, in a hearty performance, and Schumann's Papillons, in a rather dreamy one. We had Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata, a famously keyboard-smashing work, in a surprisingly introspective reading, and a passel of Chopin, concluding with my favorite of all Chopin pieces, the Op. 31 Scherzo.

Very satisfying little program. Surrounded by audience on all sides, Perahia looked almost uncertain where to bow, and after one encore, he finally silenced the applause by just not coming out yet again.

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