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“Homage to Chopin”

Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV.870; French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV.814
Chopin Mazurka in C, Op.24 No.2; Mazurka in G, Op.50 No.1; Mazurka in E minor, Op.41 No.2; Mazurka in B minor, Op.33 No.4; Impromptu in F sharp, Op.36; Scherzo No.4 in E, Op.54; Nocturne in C minor, Op.48 No.1; Nocturne in B, Op.62 No.1; Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op.44
Mozart Rondo for piano in A minor, K.511
Debussy Pour les arpeges composes (Etude No.11); Pour les octaves (Etude No.5)

Richard Goode Queen Elizabeth Hall 27 February 2008

Whilst the piano is the instrument I learnt to play as a child, I have concentrated my attention on the wide field of vocal music for many years, so a recital by the world renowned pianist Richard Goode, paying homage to my beloved Chopin, presented the prospect of a rare treat. 

How tantalizing it was to find that the keyboard was just out of sight from my press seat, and rather than being able to watch the magic of pair of hands drawing forth music from the keys, all I could see was a distinguished looking man intently mouthing a stream of silent, imaginary words.   As a vocal specialist I found this completely disconcerting; what I saw seemed completely out of kilter with what I was hearing. 

My final solution was to close my eyes, and lose something of the essence of a live performance.  But what a performance it was.  Richard Goode began his recital with the solemn gravity of Bach, gliding off into the elegance of Mozart, pulling us to attention with the astonishing complexity and myriad colours of Debussy’s Etudes, and entwined throughout was the unmatched beauty of Chopin.

I am not qualified to comment in detail, suffice to say that I was transported to realms of musical delight with the four sprightly Mazurkas, each presenting a differing character with their contrasting keys and tempo markings.  The Scherzo, played with a certain magisterial presence and no appearance of haste, none the less poured out notes with quicksilver brilliance.   For me, the two Nocturnes were the high point: the C minor Op 48, which has a chorale-like quality preceding the Op 62 tranquil, almost understated Op 62. 

In any tribute to Chopin, only a Polonaise could be a fitting finale, and the lovely F sharp minor, was clearly a most popular choice.  A near capacity audience had enjoyed a wonderful evening.

Serena Fenwick (Editor: Opera and Vocal)