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A Feast of pianist, Richard Goode’s Artistry and a walk down memory lane

I hand-selected a particular recital for an outing with my adult student, Jocel. While he’d suggested a Yuja Wang foray at Davies Concert Hall in San Francisco, I prodded him to first experience the sublime artistry of Richard Goode. (Location: Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, CA, CAL PERFORMANCES series)

We were not disappointed.

Richard Goode Program

The last three Sonatas of Schubert were masterfully played, infused with a singing tone that reached the very pinnacle of vocal expression idealized by the composer in his body of lieder. (songs) And while the pianist produced a liquid sound, he wove a tapestry of colors through sonorities and passagework that had an ingrown allegiance to form. His phrases, well spun, had a larger meaning — motivic threads, sequences, transitional bridges, and harmonic progressions synthesized to produce powerful emotional expression and structural meaning.


On a personal note, Richard Goode dates back to my NYC days, when the late Harris Goldsmith, Classical music reviewer at High Fidelity Magazine was a close companion. Such friendship borne of our mutual love for music, created unusual opportunities to partake of great performances up close and personal. At post concert receptions I met virtuosos such as Richard Goode, Ursula Oppens, and Richard’s close friend, Murray Perahia, though the latter was a classmate at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. Both Richard and Murray were regulars at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and were Marlboro alums, under the mentorship of Rudolf Serkin.

In the late 1960’s, Goldsmith invited me to hear “Richard” play the Schumann Fantasy at a Mannes College of Music Masterclass presented by Karl Ulrich Schnabel. (The reading had a signature sweep and beauty of phrasing that left an indelible memory) At the time, Murray was taking up conducting with Carl Bamberger, and both he and Richard had carved out rich chamber music careers before embarking upon their solo journeys.

Fast forward to October 26, 2014: Richard Goode, the seasoned, long-term emissary of divine music-making graced Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley and moved many audience members to tears. I was one of them.

Thank you, Richard for an inspiring afternoon!

me and Richard Goode


Interviews with Richard Goode on Israeli television

Interview with a Pianist’s pianist (San Francisco Classical Voice)

Mozart Piano concerto no. 21 in C Major, Murray Perahia, New York City High School of Performing Arts, pianist, piano, word, wordpress,, you tube, you tube video, Zellerbach in Berkeley California

Coming Attractions: A music packed weekend and even more to come

Today, in the company of two adult students, I’ll be heading over to Zellerbach in Berkeley, California to hear Murray Perahia’s piano recital. Last year at about this time, he was curbed by injury, but apparently he’s now in peak condition and ready to go.

If his recent Berlin concert is an indication of what’s to come, then audience members are in for a particularly inspiring musical afternoon.

On the down side, however, I’ve not yet received answers to three questions I posed to Murray, that were kindly transmitted by an IMG Artists Agent.

They read as follows:

1) You are often referred to as the leading poet of the piano among your generation of performing artists.

And as I watched your televised interview in the 80s with Dennis Forman, I couldn’t help but understand the alliance of the opera to piano playing. (and the “singing pulse”)

Considering your deep intellectual and musical understanding of Baroque, Classical, and Romantic era repertoire, what is the role of spontaneity and inspiration at the moment of performance?

2) I noted your approach to the Chopin “Berceuse” in a video that was in German. It was noteworthy that you fleshed out the ostinato bass separately in your practice. This was a refreshing look at your study process.

When you approach a completely NEW composition, do you parcel out voices, in this way, or is your initial “read” at such an expected, deep and polished level, that you can shorten or quicken your learning?

(I’m reminded of a quote attributed to Sviatoslav Richter when asked
how he approached a challenging new composition of virtuoso proportion:
His reply– “I read a new piece and then start practicing the place
that irritates me the most. After learning that one I move to the next
irritation, etc.”)

3) Finally, what is the value, or perhaps the detriment of studying with one teacher in the course of 10 or 15 years, as it applies to developing one’s artistic individuality? Do have advice for others in this regard?


On Monday, the day after Murray’s concert, Mark Schecter, Registered Piano Technician (RPT) will “regulate” my newest piano, a Baldwin Hamilton 1929 grand.

He just so happens to be in charge of the Zellerbach piano, so he will tune for Murray tomorrow. That’s about the closest I’ll get to my classmate at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, unless I brave the crowds to greet him post-recital.

Mark Schecter, in any case, will enjoy greater than 15 minutes of fame, as I turn my video camera on him during intervals of his work day. He’ll explain how he’s regulating my piano, and perhaps he’ll share secrets about cleaning “real” ivory keys.

So that’s what’s in store for blog readers after I return to Fresno on Tuesday afternoon.

Stay Tuned!


Murray Perahia, Pianist, is in a League of His Own


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I meet my blind date grand piano