Saturday, April 6, 2024

assorted concerts

Thursday I trudged my way again from the far-off parking garage to the San Jose State music auditorium for another Beethoven Center event. During term they hold monthly noon concerts, often of historic arrangements of Beethoven works, but this one wouldn't fit in their own tiny recital room because it required two pianos. It was Liszt's arrangement of the Ninth Symphony.

Played by locally noted pianists Tamami Honma* and Daniel Glover, with the quiet addition of timpani by John Gerling (plus triangle for the janissary section of the Ode to Joy), but with no singers, it came across rather jangly, a contrast especially audible in the slow movement. Liszt frequently passes the lead back and forth between the pianos. The quintessential moment may have been the great choral declaration of the Ode theme, which was accomplished with one pianist slamming away at the theme in massive chords while the other swept maniacally all over the keyboard to reproduce the accompaniment. The ending was so tumultuous it sounded as if they'd sent out for reinforcements.

And then I had to walk back to my car through a hailstorm (technically sleet, as the word is used in the US, I suppose).

For the evening I ventured up to the Freight to hear a five-person Scottish folk band called Breabach. I wasn't familiar with them, but I like that type of music. Lots of bagpipes going on, and they were the full-bodied Highland pipes, too. Enough to make your teeth rattle.

*Who's just released her recording of all 35 - that's right, 35 - Beethoven piano sonatas, which I would have bought on the spot had I $50 in cash - which was all they'd take - in my pocket, but I didn't.

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