An Angelic, Powerful Collaboration: Takács Quartet & Garrick Ohlsson

Takács Quartet photo credit: Amanda Tipton. Garrick Ohlsson photo credit: Dario Acosta

Natalie Vargas Nedvetsky attended the recital of the Takács Quartet & Garrick Ohlsson, performed at the 92nd St Y October 23, 2021.

To saturate an entire recital with the chamber works of Johannes Brahms can present ample opportunity for showcasing the man’s kaleidoscopic compositional reach, especially if you pair works from the start and end of his life. However, in this recital, the artists made a deliberate choice to intertwine two works extremely close in opus–letting us judge for ourselves how varied or consistent Brahms can be within one era of his life. 

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26
Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34

The Takács Quartet, together with Garrick Ohlssohn, makes for an angelic, powerful collaboration. Each player has their own distinctive approach and emotional universe that they seamlessly entwine with the others’. Despite the often stark stylistic differences between players (which will be explored later), the goal of the piece is consistently reached–in color, intent, pacing, and shape. 

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Shaking Off and Getting Ready for Recovery

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Emerging from the devastation inflicted on the New York City music performance scene will be a big job, and PIANYC is getting ready to resume its small part. Our readers have seen months of zombie listings for what were planned piano concerts that became canceled due to the pandemic. Thankfully spared by the infection, we have been fazed and even dazed, but we are waking up, clearing out the cobwebs and shaking our limbs. We have eliminated many canceled concert listings. And we have kept those still planned, mostly those at Carnegie Hall and Spectrum, venues that certainly are showing their optimism. We will be filling in new listings as they become available at the large public venues, the music schools, houses of worship, and all other NYC venues where we can find public piano performances. We will keep our ears open for online performances that have specific appeal to New Yorkers.

When looking at one of our event listings, please make sure to click the link to the host-venue website, to make sure the event is still planned:

Stay healthy, and hope with us for a speedy return of the sound of the keys out in public.

Piano Sales Looking Up During Lockdown

A recent article in the Times reveals the surprising finding that many piano dealers across the U.S. have seen an upswing in sales during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Isaac Namias, who sells restored acoustic pianos in Brooklyn, said email inquiries shot up when the virus hit New York. Under lockdown, he said, he sold nearly twice as many units per month as during normal times, mostly instruments in the lower price range, about $2,500 to $6,500. About half his business was driven by piano teachers referring students. Notably absent from the client list were professional performing pianists. Mr. Namias said, ‘They want to touch the piano, they know exactly what they’re looking for.'”

Maturity of Emotion: Claire Huangci at the IKIF

Claire Huangci performed works of D. Scarlatti, Schubert, Chopin and Debussy at the IKIF.

Two years ago, when I attended my first performance at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, I spoke with a fellow attendee. The recital we were about to see was one of the last in the series, and she had made a point to attend every one. Looking back, which performer was her favorite? Her answer was Claire Huangci. On the second day of this year’s festival, Claire Huangci showed an abundance of the skill, style and emotion that made her an audience favorite in 2016. These also helped her win the Jury Discretionary Award at the 2013 Cliburn, first prize at last month’s Concours Géza Anda competition in Zurich, and all our hearts in her recordings and in the professionally produced videos featuring her, which can be found online. Continue reading