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Murray Perahia performed at Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on the UBC campus this afternoon for the Vancouver Recital Society. His program began with Bach's Partita No. 6 (E minor), and he played superbly, with a combination of liquid lyricism and rhythmic acuity. A similar lyrical approach to Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30 (E major) began with promise, but until the second half of the last movement, without the underlying driving rhythm, it was almost too rich. The audience was still until the reverberation from the final, gentle chord dissipated, which made the ending a magical moment.

"Kinderszenen" isn't my favorite work by Schumann -- I was hoping for "Davidsbundlertanze" -- but Perahia painted a world through his playing. His closing set of pieces by Chopin (Etude No. 1 in A Flat major Op. 25 no 1 -- used in the end credits of "The Turning Point" -- Mazurkas in A flat major Op. 59 no 2, in C sharp major Op. 50 no. 3, and in F sharp minor, Op. 59 no. 3, and Scherzo No. 4 in E major Op. 54) were more than cinematic: the works sang and danced as well as created character.

Perahia performed two short encores as well. The first was somewhat playful, but I don't think I've ever heard it. The second was bombastic and sounded familiar, but I'll have to wait to see if a reviewer identifies it.

I'm not sure if the piano was his or was the house piano -- I squinted and think the writing and logo were Steinway & Sons -- but it has a gorgeous, warm sound.

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