“I wouldn’t do this for anyone except Kristian Bezuidenhout,” Carl said last night, when it was announced that our favorite performer on the fortepiano would be playing the late-night concert beginning at 11 pm.
Paul O’Dette, the Boston Early Music Festival Co-Artistic Director, announced at the beginning of the concert that he was sitting at dinner with Kristian last Friday when his iPhone rang. It was Kenneth Weiss, the artist who was scheduled to play, calling him to cancel his concert because he was too ill to fly from Paris. Kristian then offered to play the concert, saying that his only reservation was that he would have to retrieve his sheet music from London.
I had mentioned in an earlier post how expressive Kristian’s playing on the fortepiano — how every single note was so carefully voiced. I wondered if I would say the same about his harpsichord playing. As with playing the organ, no matter how hard you hit the key, it will sound at the same dynamic (loudness) and the only way you can vary the sound is to pull on another register or vary the touch through articulation. So what harpsichordists (and organists) do is manipulate the rhythm to effect accents in the music as well as to change the articulation. And this is what Kristian did with an enormous amount of success.
This program not only showed off his great control of rhythm, it also showed his virtuosity and fabulous, clean technique. It was his performance of Handel’s Aria and Variations, Suite No. 3 in D minor that Carl and I looked at each other and said, “WOW!” He opened with three dances by Louis Couperin, followed by the Partita in C major by Jakob Froberger and several movements from Handel suites. He ended the program with a transcription of Partita in A minor, after BWV 1004 for solo violin in D minor by Bach.
The concert was the last of four we attended today, which started with Richard Sparks conducting the students of the University of North Texas in a program of Bohemian baroque music. Guess who sat right behind us?! It was Jason Yoshida, the lute player who came to Honolulu for our Gabrieli concert last September!
Then we attended a very fun program of music for oboes, bassoons, theorbo and percussion called Symphonie des Dragons, conducted by Gonzalo X. Ruiz. Carl said he had never seen so many oboes on stage playing together — ten(!) plus three bassoons — such an unusual combination. The percussionist played no less than five different tambourines (and three drums), and I am always amazed at the variety of techniques used to get different sounds on the tambourines.
And you can see who we ran into at this program — Ian Capps and Jeannette Johnson from Honolulu!