Piers Lane plays Chopin

It was wonderful hearing a product of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music who has gone on to become an international star, Piers Lane, play a number of Chopin’s piano pieces with panache and sensitivity. The concert hall was lit by candles in an attempt to suggest the ambience of a salon of the early nineteenth century that may have been more clever than convincing,  but the performance itself was an exhilarating reminder of the joy of hearing music performed live.

Nevertheless, I have a problem with Chopin. His pieces contain some lovely lyrical sections that repay careful listening, but before long they tend to dissolve into bravura passages in which the piano crashes its way through glittering scales and awe inspiring tinkling crescendos, and the fear of these intruding at any moment prevents me from concentrating on the reflective passages as much as I’d like to. Of course the piano is the great instrument of the romantic period and revels in showing off, but the constant knowledge of what may lie just around the corner discourages one from investing as much energy in following the music with attention as I’d like to.

It is for this reason that I prefer the piano music of Arvo Part.

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