Last night I attended a concert by Frederic Chiu. It was different from the concerts I usually attend at large concert halls in that this one was held at the Steinway Piano Store nearby where I live. The room is small, approximately only 50 people were in attendance, and the concert was free! I was fortunate to sit between two handsome PS members, Brian and Alexander, and we must have been 10 feet from the piano. And boy did that piano sing – and whisper – and hum – and roar!
His program was as follows:
1. Chopin – Six Etudes from Opus 25 and 10
2. Debussy – Cloches a travers les feuilles – from Images II
3. Ravel – Une barque sur l’ocean – from Miroirs
4. Prokofiev/Chiu – Three pieces from Lt. Kije – 1. Romance, 2. Kije’s wedding, 3. Troika
5. Prokofiev – Toccata Op. 11
6. Beethoven/Liszt – Symphony No. 5
I will just say that the Chopin, Debussy, and Ravel were exquisitely played. And I have never seen such busy feet! They were constantly dancing on all three pedals, and I wish you could have heard the variations of tones and colors he could produce. But the next pieces, the Prokofiev, really blew me away. He arranged the piano transcriptions himself and it sounded great. I really loved it. Also, the next Prokofiev piece, the Toccata which is highly percussive and exciting.
After a short break, Chiu played Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – all four movements. Wow - what can I say – it’s a whole symphony on a piano! Chiu said that he is currently learning all 9 Beethoven/Liszt symphonies. Mind-boggling! He is a personable, easy-going man and I forgot to mention this before, but he sits on a chair at the piano, not a bench. Supposedly, he likes to sit a little lower like Gould did. And I also noticed that he wasn’t sitting forward in the chair, but all the way back so that his back was touching the back (sorry for all the backs
) He is a smaller man and I can’t help but wonder if this position would benefit me, so I’ll be trying out some chairs later today – see if any of them turn me into a better pianist! (haha – I know, fat chance.)
Anyway, the intimate setting was a pleasant change and Chiu is a fantastic pianist. If you are ever given the chance to see him perform, I encourage you to do so. But he also has 20 CD’s for sale, as well.
@Brian and Alexander - feel free to add anything here if you wish.