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Inon Barnatan concert - piano

Last night we went to a great Celebrity Series Concert. It was Inon Barnatan's solo piano Boston debut. It was in Pickman Hall at the Longy/Bard School.

The Program started with a Bach Toccata (BMV 914). He then followed with César Franck's Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, and then Samuel Barber's Sonata in E-flat minor - Opus 26. For both of these he spoke to the audience about the Bach influence in these pieces. And at times the influence certainly was very clear,

After the Intermission he played my absolutely favorite Schubert Sonata: A Major, D 959. He also talked a bit about this piece and Schubert - emphasizing how it is weird to talk about Schubert's "late years" since he died at the age of 31. In the last month before he died he completed three incredibly great sonatas, Schwanengesang (a song cycle), and a string quartet.

The second movement of the A major Sonata is an amazing piece since it starts out slow and then goes wild in the middle and returns to the original theme and speed. Once when selecting a copy of this to buy on the iTunes store I listened to the first 30 seconds of about 50 of the recordings (I just looked now and there are 149 recordings listed - they vary in length from 6 - 9 minutes - perhaps some extra repeats, but mostly the speed at which they are played).

I looked about the audience and remarked that there was hardly anyone under the age of 50. And probably it should have been 60. I really wonder if there is going to be any audience for classical music in the future. Another observation about the audience: other than a few asian people every attendee was white.

I liked the fact that he spoke to the audience. Most classical music concerts have this aura of formality (tuxes, fancy dresses, and tails) and no connection to the audience - other than occasional bows. I've read that this is very off-putting to some people, particularly younger ones and so different than most Pop or Jazz concerts where performers talk to the audience (often nonsense…).

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In the last month before he died he completed ... Schwanengesang (a song cycle) ...

Aie, he must have known...

Actually, although he probably did know (he was pretty sick), it's not his title, and actually not his cycle. After Schubert's death, a publisher took two late groups of songs and put them together under that title, further justifying it by tacking on an independent song (Die Taubenpost) which happened to be (probably) the last one Schubert wrote.

Oh, jeeez. ... OK, thanks. I just looked it up and got some more details.

I haven't heard the sonata...but now you have sparked my interest

Never heard of Barnatan, but I do love Schubert!

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