This Thursday, March 27, Alessio Bax – winner of Lincoln Center’s 2013 Martin E. Segal Award – pairs Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s new “Art of the Recital” series at the Rose Studio. Offering an opportunity to hear the pianist’s “formidable and sensitive rendition of the ‘Hammerklavier’” (Alex Ross, New Yorker), which helped him secure first-prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions, Bax’s solo recital will be webcast live here and archived online for future streaming on demand.
For the pianist, it is no exaggeration to describe the “Hammerklavier” as “one of the great achievements of humankind.” His account of the monumental sonata’s concluding fugue is available on EMI’s 2007 DVD release of the PBS documentary Barenboim on Beethoven: Masterclasses. Reviewing the DVD set, Fanfare magazine concluded:
“Alessio Bax’s performance of the last movement of the ‘Hammerklavier’ … was atmospheric, lyrical, singing, and beautifully played. It had power when needed and, more important, an overall structure and feeling that was most refreshing. This was one instance where the pupil had far more to teach the master. I could find little fault, if any, with Bax’s performance.”
At Lincoln Center, Bax couples Beethoven’s masterpiece with another colossus of the piano literature, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in which he has proved himself “simply one of the most vivid pianists around” (ConcertoNet.com). After a traversal of Mussorgsky’s suite in the Portland International Piano recital series, the Oregon Music News pronounced his performance “outstanding,” and elaborated: “Showing impeccable technical control and balance, Bax’s playing revealed all sorts of textures and colors. It was a remarkable concert.”
Following his Lincoln Center appearance, the pianist returns to New York to take part in a 100th birthday celebration concert for Salon de Virtuosi’s Charlotte White in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (May 7), before reprising “Hammerklavier” and Pictures for a recital in the Music@Menlo series in Palo Alto, CA (May 11).