Murray Perahia returns for a memorable evening of first-class artistry

By Lawrence Budmen

Pianist Murray Perahia opened the Broward Center’s Classical Series Monday night in Fort Lauderdale.

Murray Perahia launched the Broward Center’s Classical Series Monday night in Fort Lauderdale with a judiciously chosen, superbly played recital. The London-based American pianist’s appearances on this side of the pond have been sporadic in recent years, partly due to a hand injury that has required several surgeries.

Although the program was relatively short, lasting only an hour and a half with intermission, the music-making was choice, a demonstration of keyboard mastery and exceptional artistry. Aided by a near-flawless technique, Perahia’s interpretive acuity brings fresh insights into the most familiar repertoire.

The bounce and verve in the opening Allegro of Haydn’s Sonata in D Major quickly dispelled concerns about past hand problems, the notes rippling under Perahia’s fingers. A deft reading of the final Presto was refreshingly bereft of any powdered-wigged images of Papa Haydn. Still, the Adagio was the heart of the performance, revealing a darker, elegiac tone in Perahia’s sensitive hands.

Six Moments Musicaux by Schubert were marked by bright textures and minute nuances of tonal shading. The Viennese dance of No. 3 in F minor was wonderfully syncopated while the left-hand figurations of No. 4 in C-sharp minor were potently emphatic. Myriad variations of forte marked Perahia’s powerful whirl through the F minor Allegro vivace of No. 5. The final Allegretto was tastefully restrained, with a songful line and beautiful coloring replacing exaggerated romantic excess.

In the famous Adagio sostenuto of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Perahia channeled lyrical introspection, his hands seeming to caress the keys. His light touch turned the Allegretto into an interlude of charm before a no-holds-barred, tempest-tossed finale. Perahia’s reserves of pianistic power and dynamism swept the cobwebs off this oft-performed warhorse.

Schumann’s Faschingsschwank aus Wien was played as one long stream of consciousness rather than the episodic ramblings of mundane traversals. The grand gestures of the opening Allegro, quiet delicacy of the Romance and playfulness of the Scherzino were prelude to a stunning finale, the speed and impulsive energy of Perahia’s reading never impeding clarity. Even at such a fierce tempo, every note was perfectly placed and potently felt.

Eschewing the prettified niceties of the salon, Perahia restored revolutionary fervor and unhinged passion in Chopin’s music. Solemn grandeur and tragic overtones engulfed the Impromptu No. 2 in F-sharp minor. The wild impetuosity and torrents of ringing octaves in the Scherzo No. 1 in B minor were combustible; yet the liquid refinement and grace of the central episode defined pianistic poetry. Perahia obliged the demand for encores from the large, enthusiastic audience with more revelatory Chopin—an aristocratic Raindrop Prelude and exquisitely soft Nocturne, Op.15, No. 1 in F Major, a gentle goodnight to a memorable evening.

The Broward Center Classical Series continues 8 p.m. January 7 with a recital by violinist Itzhak Perlman. browardcenter.org954-462-0222.

Posted in Performances

2 Responses to “Murray Perahia returns for a memorable evening of first-class artistry”

  1. Posted Nov 02, 2012 at 4:27 pm by ruben berezdivin

    no mention of the shameful lack of people in the audience … here in “Miami/Broward,” with one of the foremost pianists of the day honoring us with a performance?

    Perahia deserved better; What’s wrong with Miami & surrounding?

  2. Posted Nov 02, 2012 at 8:54 pm by Nina Berezdivin

    Embarrassing that so few attended to hear this extraordinary pianist.
    In NY or London, this concert would be sold out!
    It was a thrill to listen to a legend play this wonderful program.

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Tue Oct 30, 2012
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