Brahms, Hungarian Dances
Bach Partitas 2-4
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1
His interpretation of all four of Chopin's ballades, which he has recorded in an interlocking program with the Brahms ballades, focused on contrasts, as in the reticent and introspective main theme of the G minor, which was followed by manic fast passages that whirled out of control, and not always in a good way. He tended to stretch the tempo to the point that it was bent out of shape and lost cohesion over the course of an entire work. Add a hazy, even soporific reliance on the sustaining and soft pedals, and the effect was a little out of touch, more gossamer gauze than technical audacity. The playing never approached the force and daring of Marc-André Hamelin's recent recording, but it had improved by the fourth ballade, with a striking rendition of the blazing final pages.
Joe Banno, Tiberghien Brings a Deft Touch to Chopin (Washington Post, September 28)
Three Debussy selections proved much the same, with a pleasingly transparent texture that allowed inner lines to shimmer, relishing the playful guitar-like sounds of Masques, the lyrical lines and jazzy harmonies of D'un cahier d'esquisses, the decorous elegance of L'isle joyeuse. This was Debussy of sometimes nearly unbearable délicatesse, perhaps even a bit fussy. Announcing his single encore as another Debussy work with "some more bells," Tiberghien gave an equally idiosyncratic (some strange tempo shifts) performance of the prelude La cathédrale engloutie.
The next recital in the WPAS classical series will feature Murray Perahia (October 17, 4 pm) playing Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.