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2016年10月10日 星期一

Murray Perahia in Hong Kong (梅理. 柏拉雅在香港)

Music is not just an experience, it is the life of man in sound, in rhythm, in melody, in harmony and sometimes in cacophony. Just as it is impossible not to continue to live, it is impossible not to continue to live without music. So last night I found myself again at the Cultural Centre. There in the hall was Murray Perahia, the very accomplished and almost 70 year-old New York American pianist, educator and recording artist of numerous CDs.

The program started off with a piece by the so-called father of modern classical symphony, Joseph Haydn.
(1732-1809).  It was a piece written by Haydn in 1793 for a Mozart pupil. It's got two variations, the first in F minor with some syncopation and the second in F major, with some trills, with soft passages and louder passages. Perahia however gave him a make-over, in the Romantic style, emphasizing the contrasts and the dynamism of the piece. It's can't be called a purist's Haydn-Haydn version. It's become a Perahia-Haydn version. It may not be to every one's taste. Perhaps there is some wisdom in the claim that we must make music come alive for us. One way of doing that is to play it according to our preferences, our tastes, to give the old a new look and in short, to make it relevant to our times. I believe that Perahia did that.. Whether every one likes that is very much a matter of personality and taste.


The second piece of the evening is a very familiar piece by Mozart: his Piano Sonata No.8 in A Minor, K 310 in Allegro maestro, Andante cantabile con expressione and Presto. The piece was written in 1788, at a time when he was unsuccessfully looking for a job in Paris. Nobody really knows how it came to be written. But whatever the truth may be, it's a very delightful piece, full of flow and youthful energy. Again, Perahia gave the piece a very personal stamp. He decided that that flow may not be the only element in the piece and explored its possibilities for a more dynamic and assertive kind of play and manages to bring out aspects in the piece that we don't normally think could be in there and makes it credible.










Then the concert continued with someone who came upon the European musical scene much later, a composer who belongs to the so-called Romantic era,  the unhappy lover Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). We had some pieces from late in his career: Op. 118 Nos 3 and 2, Op, 119 No.3 and 2 and then a piece from his Phantasien, Op. 116. No.1: a Ballade and 2 Intermezzos, plus a Capriccio. In these pieces, I think Perahia was probably in his true elements. He didn't have to struggle. He just needed to be himself and let go and allow his fancies to take him to wherever it might wish to bring him.  It's almost as if his fingers instantly transformed the keyboard into the kind of sound his fingers wanted, sometimes soft, sometimes hard, sometimes, resonant, sometimes delicate, sometimes energetic. It was sheer joy to simply listen.








After the intermission, Perahia gave us his masterpiece, Beethoven's (1770-1827)'s  Piano Sonata No. 29, the so-called the "Grand Sonata for the Hammerklavier" in Allegro, Scherzo: Assai vivace, Adagio sostenuto, Largo-Allegro-Allegro risoluto. Recently Perahia devoted himself to editing a complete series of the musical lion's Sonatas and probably spent much time  studying all phases of the composer's work. So we can expect some new musical insight in his treatment of Beethoven's most technically challenging sonata. He did not disappoint.This huge  work showcases almost all the typical Beethoven characteristics: structural, powerful, mixed with with soft flowing delicate passages. Perahia got a tremendous reception but I can see that he was quite exhausted by the exertions of this last piece. So we did not get an encore. But then why should we be so greedy. ?