23 September 2009

Stephen Manes Piano Recital

Yesterday night, there was a faculty recital in the Music Department. That was good, since it was a long day for me, and the concert was free for UB students. The person giving the recital was Stephen Manes, a pianist in the Music Department. When I saw his program a week ago, I wanted to go, since his program only involved music by Chopin and Debussy.

So, how did it go? I think that it was a great recital overall, and I like the fact that he chose the pieces that he played. I remember him playing Beethoven's Appassionata sonata last year, and that was a little disappointing. I wanted Beethoven to be more rigid, but I think he played it with too much rubato. This time, however, since it was Chopin and Debussy, his use of rubato was well-tempered. It was Romantic and Impressionist music at its best.

Some highlights of the program included Debussy's La Cathedrale engloutie and the whole series of Estampes. I loved how he performed both pieces, successfully evoking the scenes and pictures that the pieces were supposed to evoke. Also, the performances of Chopin's Berceuse and Barcarolle was amazing as well. I am not familiar with the Barcarolle but I knew the Berceuse, and I loved the way how he handled the multiple variations of that piece, which is centered on just two chords.

He gave two encores, both Chopin pieces: a mazurka in F minor, and the Revolutionary Etude. Of course he is a professional, so he hid his wrong notes quite well. If people didn't know the piece, then they might not have realized that there was a wrong note a couple of times in the program. Aside from that, it was a wonderful evening. I am glad I had my fix of classical music again.

(Huge Jet Engine, from my Air and Space Museum Series)


  1. You must be good in music if you can spot a false note in a recital !

  2. Even if I like listening to classical music, I wouldn't really notice two notes being off. But you're a talented musician and you can technically critique a performance. You play piano well yourself, right?

  3. Sidney,

    Well, I suppose I *was* good in music. Not anymore. I haven't played the piano religiously in years. Perhaps the only reason why I knew that there was a false note was because I used to play the piece that the pianist played that night.


    Ha! I used to play the piano well. That was back in 2001. Now my technique is so rusty it is so embarrassing to show it.