Thursday, April 26, 2012

Richard Goode at Carnegie Hall

Kinderszenen, Op. 15
Kreisleriana, Op. 16

Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 55, No. 2
Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39
Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 64, No. 3
Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2
Waltz in F Major, Op. 34, No. 3
Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47

Last night pianist Richard Goode presented a program of solo piano pieces by Robert Schumann and Frédéric Chopin at Carnegie Hall.

Schumann and Chopin were both born in 1810 and went on to become two of the great masters of the Romantic era. Surprisingly, they had little contact with each other and moved in different circles (Schumann was based in Leipzig whereas Chopin lived in Paris). Schumann was primarily influenced by Beethoven; Chopin revered Bach and Mozart. This concert was a great opportunity to hear both composers side by side.

In 1838, Schumann composed Kinderszenen and Kreisleriana as short character studies for the solo piano. The thirteen sections of Kinderszenen were inspired by Schumann's reminisces of childhood. Goode played them with a suitably nostalgic and wistful air, and his Traumerei (Dreaming) was gorgeous, especially in the final measures.

Kreisleriana, inspired by a character from E. T. A. Hoffmann, has a greater emotional range with eight sections ranging from tempestuous to introspective. And yet Goode reigned in any showiness and instead delivered the essential character of each movement with deep thoughtfulness and clarity.

In the second half of the program, Goode evoked 19th century Paris with Chopin. His sound was silken and otherwordly, particularly in the waltzes, amd the final ballade was a showpiece of glittering virtuosity.

Goode played three encores: Chopin's Mazurka in C Major, Op. 24, No. 2, Beethoven's Scherzo from Sonata No. 18 in E-flat Major, Op. 31, No. 3, and Leoš Janáček's On the Overgrown Path, Book I.

I enjoyed Goode's understated yet profoundly sensitive style and am looking forward to hearing him again next season.

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