Piano Concerts

Attended the Minoru Nojima concert recently.



It started with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101. I personally found the whole thing very draggy and plain, so I didn’t really enjoy it.

Next came Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, which can be loosely translated to mean “Satanic visions of the night”. I like Ravel’s pieces, especially Ondine, and truth be told I only attended this concert because there was going to be Ravel. Anyway, the pieces in the triptych are Ondine, Le Gibet and Scarbo. I enjoyed the playing of Ondine very much. Watching him play, it seemed like he was not just playing the piece but was part of it too. “Continual cascades of water” is how the programme book described it. I have to agree.

After that was Le Gibet. The programme book says:

Le Gibet tells a different story:
A distant bell tolls from the town wall beyond the horizon,
and the lifeless body of a hanged man glows red in the morning sun.

You could picture the harsh, bloody red of the sun and the overall imagery through the piece. It was very haunting, sounding somewhat ghastly, but murky and unclear, almost like a trance. Just an impression, but a very strong one. Finally came Scarbo, which describes the “nocturnal hijinks of a mean-tempered apparition of the night”. It seemed to be extremely technically challenging, but I didn’t really like the piece. I don’t know why. Audience reaction for this series of pieces was good, with shouts of “bravo!” being heard.

Lastly came Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84. I found it…well, boring. Although it’s supposed to be one of Prokofiev’s best works, I really have no idea how to appreciate these things. It’s like how I like Impressionist and Classical/Neo-classical art but cannot stand Cubism (for the most part, though some of Picasso’s later works were nice).

Oh well, who am I to judge?


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