At our University, Dr. James Helton gave a solo concert for the first time in a few years. It was incredible! Here is the programme:

  1. Chorale from Cantata No. 147 by Bach, transcribed by Myra Hess
  2. Fantasie in C Minor, BWV 906 (Bach)
  3. Brahms Sonata in C Major, Op. 1 [size=167]!!![/size]
    Andante tranquillo from concerto for piano, Op. 14, Kevin Oldham, transcribed by Rosen.

Le Tombeau de Couperin
Toccata (!!!)

Overall: Insane! Just unbelievable. The Brahms Titan of a sonata is so massive it’s amazing it’s not often played. The bravura exhibited is exceptional and only surpassed by the supreme music. The first movement was very, very showy, very loud, like an orchestral symphony, hearkening to Beethoven. The second movement was slow and lovely.

The third movement, a scherzo, was so technically showy it puts Alkan’s sonata in its proper place as far as that goes-about the same, I’d say. Very fast, very furious, with leaping hands that would make most of the youtube videos I’ve seen jealous.
The fourth movement was a tour-de-force of technique and happy-go-lucky, but it was right about the time that the adrenaline from the 1 and 3 movements wore off lol.

The Oldham was very nice, not virtuosic.

Le Tombeau was nice, but the Toccata was extremely difficult. Very showy, although not as showy as the Brahms.

Incredible concert, free, only ~40 people came, in a world-class concert hall in which Zimerman once played.

However, the tone, perfection, and something else I can’t touch on, perhaps because it was live in this hall, makes even the recordings I have almost worshipped pale in comparison and almost ask me to abstain from listening to recordings. The sonority of the opening chords in the Brahms is orchestral rather than boistrous in the hall, live.

Encore was Gershwin Prelude #2 because “I know it’s late (9:40) and I’m too tired for a virtuosic encore.”

Hope you enjoy it,