November Program Report
The six pianists of Piano Group II were front and center at The Center for November’s monthly meeting. Their program was “The Four Great B’s: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bartók.”
Barbara Moore opened the morning with Bach’s Toccata in G Major, BWV 916. Her expert technique as an organist was evident, as was her musicianship. Judicious pedaling enhanced the eloquent, expressive Adagio, while the outer movements were crisp and clear.
Carolyn Kelly chose complementary pieces by Brahms. She paired the ethereal Intermezzo in E Major, Opus 116 No.4 with the Rhapsody in G Minor, Opus 79 No.2. The contrast was effective, and she navigated the crossed-hands passages with aplomb.
Ruth Barolsky played the opening Allegro of Beethoven’s Sonata No.15 in D Major, Op. 28. Observing the repeat, she underscored the expansive tranquility that is the essence of this movement. The audience had ‘double exposure’ to the architecture of Beethoven’s sonata structure. Her dynamic control was impressive, particularly in the pianissimo passages.
Corky Sablinsky followed with seven short pieces from various collections by Bartók. Widely varying in difficulty and character, her selections included relatively simple settings of folk tunes and two of the immensely challenging Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm that cap Book VI of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. Corky brought out the percussive aspects of Bartók’s music, but also demonstrated warm lyricism in the quieter pieces. Her rendition of Buciumeana from the Romanian Folk Dances was especially lovely.
Pat Davis returned to Brahms, juxtaposing two pieces from Brahms’s Opus 76. Her Intermezzo in A minor, Op.76 No.7 was sensitive and introspective. She shifted gears for the Capriccio in C Major, Op.76 No.8, delivering the piece with authority and just the right dash of capriciousness.
Trish Dougherty concluded the morning of music with the sublime finale to Beethoven’s Sonata No.30 in E Major, Opus 109. She played the theme with loving care, then navigated Beethoven’s wide-ranging variations smoothly. That is no small feat, since Beethoven morphs from leisurely to detached and pointillist, from humorous to meandering, meditative to Bach-like counterpoint. It was a captivating performance, all the more impressive because she played from memory.
The capacity audience responded with enthusiastic applause to all six pianists. Wednesday Music Club is fortunate indeed to have such depth and breadth of talent among its members.
---Laurie Shulman, Program Chair
For those who did not attend and would like to see and hear the program, click on the yellow buttons below for the full program or the individual compositions.