Saturday, October 25, 2008

ConcART Review

The party was a great success. In total, we had about 65 people show up over the four hours, and Johanne sold six pieces. 50 people came in time for the recital, almost all of them arriving in a flood between 1:00pm and 1:05pm. They took their seats right away and by 1:15pm we had a packed house and were ready to start on time.

I gave a little introductory spiel and then launched into the program. Luckily, the people who came were interested in hearing a classical piano recital. So we had a very attentive and very appreciative audience of 50 crammed into our living room. And I think their attentiveness rubbed off, because I was able to focus intently on the music and it went great. I'd say it was one of my best performances ever.

A couple of highlights...
  • Many people commented that they appreciated the little stories I told before each piece. Instrumental music can sometimes be pretty abstract, so if you know to "listen for the little bird fluttering in and out" or "the right hand is supposed to sound like water cascading over rocks", it adds a more concrete dimension.
  • I was most worried about The Maiden and the Nightingale, since it's a difficult piece and this was my first real performance of it. But it went great. I described it as a battle between the maiden trying to be dark and dramatic and the happy little nightingale trying to snap her out of it. I suggested that people listen and decide for themselves who wins the battle. Later, one of the guests wrote in the guestbook: "The nightingale got the last word!"
  • The Danzas Argentinas are always a great way to end a program. The big build up to the final, piano-wide up-down glissando and crashing cadence puts an exclamation mark on everything. The audience responded with laughs and shouts and a blast of applause that seemed to go on and on.
I should also note that things wouldn't have gone nearly as well without the help of several people. In particular:
  • Gary, for tuning and adjusting the piano
  • Libby, for handling the art sales
  • Laura, for working the back door during the recital
  • Melissa and Debie, for keeping the food and drink areas stocked and clean during the party
We're encouraged by the good results to do it again, maybe twice a year. That means I have to go get to work on repertoire!

Friday, October 3, 2008


On Sunday, October 19, Johanne will be having her first solo Art Show at our home here in Austin. The show will feature her latest pastel painting series on Rocher Percé, her new wood burnings and a couple of new wood sculptures.

To kick off the show, I'll be giving a recital on my new piano. We're expecting 40-50 people. (If you're in Austin, or think you could make it and didn't receive an invitation, let me know. I'll get one out to you).

I wanted to give a longish recital. Most other opportunities involve multiple performers where each is limited to one or two pieces. This is an opportunity to stretch out a little and design a nice program with some variety. The problem is that when I laid it out, it was too long. And removing pieces is a sad thing. But after much hair-pulling, I've whittled it down to...

1. El Puerto (Albéniz)
2. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Liszt)
3. Sonata No.8 (Pathétique), 2nd movement (Beethoven)
4. Impromptu Op.90, No.4 (Schubert)
5. Quejas, ó la Maja y el Ruiseñor (Granados)
6. Danzas Argentinas (Ginastera)

There are a couple of glaring omissions, but even still, I'm worried it's a little long. I figure it runs about 40 minutes. Make it 45, since I plan to tell a little story to introduce each piece. But I think the flow/variety of the program would suffer if I removed any more. (Not to mention... it would break my heart).

So what do you think? Would you sit through those 45 minutes? Even if you were coming mainly to view the art?