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17.5.11

Menahem Pressler Endures

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Read my review published today in the Style section of the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, Menahem Pressler at JCC
Washington Post, May 17, 2011

When and how a musician quits the public stage at the end of life is a personal decision. Some have cut short their performing careers before the signs of decline are apparent. Menahem Pressler, who turned 87 last December, has chosen to soldier on, most recently with a solo recital at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville on Sunday. The facility of his once-fluent fingers continues to fade, but in spite of the technical flaws, he gave a performance that was imbued with strange interpretive choices and an understated, autumnal radiance.

In his charming personal introductions to the program, Pressler made no mention of the passing two days earlier of Bernard Greenhouse, the cellist with whom he founded the legendary Beaux Arts Trio in 1955, but mortality seemed to hang over this recital, which featured late sonatas by Beethoven and Schubert. Pressler gave Beethoven’s Op. 110 sonata an almost too quiet quality, slowing many of the tempos and giving the third movement a lost, wandering sound. [Continue reading]
Menahem Pressler, piano
Beethoven, Piano Sonata, op. 110
Debussy, Estampes
Schubert, Piano Sonata, D. 960
Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington (Rockville, Md.)

ONLINE VIDEO:
Almost the same program, played much better, from Pressler's recital at the Cité de la Musique (March 2011)

PREVIOUS REVIEWS:
May 12, 2011 | January 2009 | October 2006 | Beaux Arts Trio (2006) | October 2005 | December 2004 | December 2003

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