Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Murray Perahia at Davies Hall

Monday night I sat in the 1st tier of Davies Hall to hear Murray Perahia's very classical recital program: Bach Partita No. 2, Beethoven Sonata No. 15, Schumann Fantasiestücke Op. 12 & Chopin Ballade No. 4. I'd never heard him before, although I see his name on dozens of recordings every time I am shopping for CDs. He is a very technical performer. Everything is incredibly crisp, even & clear. He has an amazing portamento. I was impressed by his controlled technique & classical restraint, but I wasn't very moved by the recital. He made everything sound almost too even. There isn't much difference between the way he plays Bach & the way he plays Chopin. I enjoyed his Schumann Fantasiestücke, though. The wild contrasts of mood came across very well in his playing. But overall I was more impressed by his technique than his musicality.

The hall was nearly full, including the terrace seating, so Perahia clearly has a following. He got a very warm response from the audience the moment he stepped on stage. He is one of those performers that needs very little preparation time. He walks on stage, bows briskly, sits down, & starts playing. At the end of the program he got an immediate standing ovation. He returned twice to play Chopin encores.

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