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RECITAL REVIEW
Redwood Arts Council / Friday, October 8, 2021
Andreas Klein, piano

Andreas Klein in Occidental

AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Friday, October 8, 2021

People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise Ė a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hall and adjacent art gallery. A happy return for all.

Sixty people heard the Germany-based artist give Bachís Partita No. 2 a balanced reading, the articulation in the two-voiced Allemande clear and the Sarabande echoing some of the harmonies of the long opening Sinfonia. The concluding Capriccio was played quite fast ďa la ArgerichĒ and was on the edge of getting out of control, but never did. He took the big repeat and here the contrapuntal playing was the best in the work.

In his remarks to the audience the pianist spoke of his affection for Beethovenís A Flat Sonata, Op. 110, and the composerís tribulations during the early 1820s period. The first left-hand tremolos heralded a lyrical cantabile approach to this seminal piece, with a no pause coming before the Scherzoís three fast runs and good control of the pesky right-hand figurations. Speed continued even into the short (Adagio) introduction to the glorious fugue, where Mr. Klein underscored the contrasts of the building drama with sporadic quiet phrases. Many fugues are not especially happy, but this one has joyous grandeur that the artist conveyed with authority right to the final descending and ascending forte runs. It was the recitalís highlight.

Following intermission, a raffle and announcements by RAC Music Director Sonia Tubridy, Mr. Klein turned to one of Chopinís most performed works, the G Minor Ballade. The playing had a modern cast with little attention to drawn-out ritards, repeated sections and even single notes played differently, and little emphasis on the romantic themes seemingly written for a great Italian tenor. Octave playing was accurate but again lacked shaping. It was an effective but standard interpretation.

Prokofievís B Flat Sonata from 1942 ended the program, and the work is arguably the most popular piano sonata from the last Century. The percussive opening Allegro had some of the eveningís best playing, the stark harmonies lessened by flutter pedaling to effect sonic smudges and contrast. There was just the right amount of repose in the playing, something that continued with the lush Andante caloroso movement where Mr. Klein, using the shift pedal, produced sorrowful colorations in the haunting theme. Prokofiev can often be a romantic composer.

He certainly wasnít in the famous Precipitato finale, and wanted the performer of this Sonata to play like a machine, with no alteration of speed and intensity. Mr. Klein complied, roaring through the Toccata with controlled abandon up to the three final Fortissimo chords. As always with this outburst of demonic pianistic energy, a loud standing ovation erupted.

No encore was offered. The season continues Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. with the Telegraph Quartet in
Sebastopolís Community Church, playing music of Festinger, Bacewicz and Britten.