Richard Goode’s pianism once again shows the art that conceals art

Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 12:35 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Richard Goode performed music of Schumann, Brahms and Chopin Sunday afternoon at Symphony Center.

Richard Goode is a pianist’s pianist, a keyboard artist of insight and refinement, and the polar opposite of those young firebrands who use the music primarily as a vehicle for aggrandizing, self-serving display.

Sunday afternoon the American pianist offered a program of cornerstone repertoire that showcased his distinctive and selfless art to a large turnout at Symphony Center.

Goode opened the program with Schumann’s Kinderszenen. To these fanciful yet never naive evocations of childhood scenes, Goode brought just the right atmospheric touch. The opening “Of Foreign Lands” was given a gracious simplicity, and the playful expression of these miniatures was finely judged throughout with a mix of light caprice and nostalgic ache.

The pianist is often at his finest in Brahms’ late works, and so it proved again in the Seven Fantasies, Op. 116. Goode assayed the storm-tossed drama and bravura of the Capriccios with all due dexterity. But it was the intermezzi’s predominant ruminative expression that really shone, rendered with a gentle musing and tender, unsentimental introspection that felt just right.

The shortish second half was devoted entirely to Chopin, and Goode’s performances of the Polish composer’s music was truly the art that conceals art. The Nocturne in E flat, Op. 55, No. 2, blended strength and nobility and a set of three waltzes benefited from freshness and urgency with an especially playful, scintillating account of the Waltz in F major, Op. 34, No. 3.

For all his tonal refinement, Goode can throw off the fireworks with the best of them, and the bravura pages of the Scherzo No. 3 and Ballade No. 3 were dispatched with a fizzing virtuosity that was thrilling in its abandon.

For his encores, Goode offered an elegant rendering of Chopin’s Mazurka in C Major, Op. 24, No. 2 and a wonderfully witty and feline account of the Scherzo from Beethoven’s Sonata No. 18 in E-flat Major, Op. 31, No. 3.

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2 Responses to “Richard Goode’s pianism once again shows the art that conceals art”

  1. Posted Mar 06, 2012 at 6:12 pm by Leslie

    Oh ! How I wish I had the money and time to follow this wonderful pianist around to every concert. I don’t even think I can get to Carnegie Hall for his concert. It is really upsetting that he comes to where I can hear him so seldom.

  2. Posted Mar 07, 2012 at 2:12 pm by David Walker-Price

    I too wish I could hear Richard Goode again.My memory if an all Beethoven recital in Lichfield CT some years ago has stayed vividly with me..its a continuing pleasure to recall.My kind of artist!

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