16 December 2013

Matan Porat Piano Recital

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a piano recital by the Israeli pianist and composer Matan Porat. I actually didn't plan to attend this concert, but while I was at the metro one night, I saw a poster advertising it, and it said that he would be playing music by György Ligeti, among others. As Ligeti is one of those composers who I like, but haven't really heard live, I figured I would check out how much tickets for this one cost. And so the next day, I headed to the box office to check, and I was surprised to know that the tickets were only between 15 to 25 EUR. Needless to say, I opted for the highest bracket and bought myself a ticket.

He played four pieces: György Ligeti's Musica ricercata (1951-1953); Jean-Philippe Rameau's Suite in A Minor (1728); Matan Porat's 3 Piano Pieces (2013); and Franz Schubert's 3 Piano Pieces D 946 (1828). Normally, I would probably be puzzled at why the pieces he would be playing are so diverse and all over the place, so to speak, since there were two pieces that were rather modern (Ligeti and Porat), while the other two pieces were a little older than that (Rameau and Schubert). However, on second thought, I suppose the selection of pieces shows how versatile the pianist is, not really specializing in one musical period, but is easily adaptable to the technical demands of the various periods he sampled.

And that was indeed the case. I never detected any "wrong" notes in his performance. It was really amazing to see him play, as his playing style was very crisp and sharp. I am biased towards the more modern pieces: I know Musica ricercata and so I loved the fact that he played it accurately. While I am not familiar with his own compositions, his performance that night put his name in the back of my head as someone I need to watch out for in future concerts.

And yes, while I am not a big fan of Rameau nor Schubert, his playing style really captured the essence of the pieces he performed. It sounded really well, to the point that I felt a little bit of cognitive dissonance seeing a pianist whose appearance can be characterized as hipster (his hairstyle and rimmed-glasses was quite amusing to watch) execute perfectly a musical composition written centuries before he was even born.

Overall, I was glad I went to this concert. Berlin definitely has plenty of things to do, including watch a piano recital.

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