Review -- Richard Goode's recital of 3/23/97

Today I went to Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center to hear pianist Richard Goode play

I went to see the recital mostly for the Brahms because of a lovely CD he recorded consisting of Brahms' short piano pieces, Op. 76, 116, and 119. It was my introduction to these little gems for my piano studies. I highly recommend this recording -- any good classical music recording store should have it, just look under Brahms piano or Richard Goode.

In the Bach, Mr. Goode did what some people call romanticizing the piece, using more pedal than I've ever been allowed to use in Bach and an elasticity of rhythm, which made his playing not unattractive but lacking in clarity. I did enjoy it but found it a little boring. However, there were some problems in the audience which I doubt affected Mr. Goode's concentration but certainly hurt mine (see last paragraph below).

The Brahms was just exquisite -- the variety of color and character Mr. Goode put into these works really enraptured me. He varied the tempos of the Op. 119 slightly from his recording, but they were no less effective, actually a refreshing change for someone who has listened to the recording many times. I especially liked the Intermezzo Op. 119 No. 3, a happy pretty little piece. In the Ballade Op. 118 No. 3, however, I had the same complaint as for the Bach -- too much pedal left it a little muddled. It needed to be a little more crisp. Overall though, I found the Brahms pieces to be the highlight of the recital.

The Beethoven sonata (his last) was very exciting! It's a work I'm unfamiliar with (probably because it's one of those insane works which I might never attempt to learn as a pianist) and one that is less accessible to general audiences, but Mr. Goode played it with great flair and virtuosity.

I was very disappointed that Mr. Goode did not perform any encores despite the standing ovation and that we kept applauding so that he came out 4 or 5 times to take a bow. I hope it wasn't because he was annoyed with the audience. Or is it just not usual for recitalists to do encores nowadays? Or just in New York? When Yefim Bronfman performed at Williams College about 4 years ago, he did several brilliant Chopin etudes as encores (we were a highly appreciative audience, I must say..) But when I saw the Emerson String Quartet perform recently at Alice Tully Hall, no encores! Maybe it just depends on the artists.

I'm sorry but I must comment on the audience.. Wheezy old men who smell like tobacco and fall asleep as soon as the music starts should not be allowed in recital halls, I am serious!! I wonder if the man sitting next to me caught even a quarter of the recital but it was sure unpleasant sitting next to him. Also during the first piece, someone on the other side of the hall started snoring so loudly that the entire audience could hear it. There was quite a commotion that Mr. Goode paused uncharacteristically between movements and looked out at the audience -- a few people yelled "shut up!" and two Lincoln Center personnel had to come in and remove the offending snorer. How embarrassing, really! Back