I went to Murray Perahia's concert this afternoon. I have never really taken the time to listen carefully to his cd's so this was like the first time I have heard him play. I think he was great!
He started off with Bach - which made me think of all of you. It was the Partita No. 4 in D Major. There are seven parts and although I have not heard this before, I did not hear any obvious mistakes. His playing was elegant and smooth. And he did use the pedal.
His next pieces were Beethoven's Pastorale Sonata. Again, flawless and beautiful.
After intermission were Brahms Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118. I took special note of the A Major Intermezzo since I have played it recently, and I think his tempo here was right on. And once again, I heard notes that I never heard before, I think because he brought out some different low notes.
I have to back up a little and say that I watched his feet a lot to see how much he uses the soft pedal. Whereas Pollini moved his foot on and off the soft pedal constantly, Perahia's foot rarely left the pedal. But...I'm not sure if he used it. I stared and stared at it, as I could see his big shoe on it but it was always pointing up, like it was not depressing the pedal. So...when he got to the Brahms, I wondered if he would use it during the place that is marked una corda. But no. I didn't see his foot move. His dynamics were clearly there, from very soft to very loud, and now I'm wondering if on Steinway pianos you don't have to press down hardly at all on that pedal to get it work? It seems that his natural stance is to keep his left foot on the soft pedal, so I would think that means that he uses it a lot, right? I'm really not sure about this.
Then came Chopin Etudes 25/1 and 10/4. I thought of you all again, especially Terez. Aren't you also working on 10/4? Anyway - again great playing. Then onto Chopin's 3rd Ballade. I played this in a recital a couple years ago and had a bad memory slip. I love this piece, but I can't help feeling a little sick when I hear the spot where I messed up. Of course, Perahia had no problems with it.
He did two or three encores (can't remember) and I'm not even sure what they were. I think one was another Chopin Etude, maybe 25/2? Also, he had on a black suit, white shirt, and red tie. Nothing flashy - he could have been a business man, which makes me realize that this is his business - this is his 'day job'. It always amazes me how these professionals can do what they do.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin
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