Impromptu numbers on the piano
Pianist John Kamfonas, who has a passion for the classical repertoire, took the stage at the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore for an evening of delightful piano music recently. John Kamfonas, who was recently awarded first prize at the Art of Piano Summer Festival held in Cincinnati, is currently serving as a member of the piano faculty at Youniversity of Music and the Arts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
He has also developed a unique workshop on improvising for classical musicians that he most recently conducted with the students at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Among the pieces he performed that night were J S Bach’s ‘Prelude’ and ‘Fugue No 12’ in F minor, Franz Liszt’s transcendental ‘Etude No 11’, Bach-Busoni’s ‘Chaconne in D minor’ and selections from Manos Hadjidakis’s ‘For A Little White Seashell’.
Just before one of the performances, John explained how piano concerts came into existence.
“Franz Liszt is the reason the piano concert came to be,” he stated. He explained that Liszt brought new colours, new textures and expanded on so many different techniques, which helped him transform his passion into a career.
“Liszt had locked himself up for two years and practised all the techniques to execute it. It was then that he took Europe by storm,” John described, adding, “his power to create a vision through music produced beautiful pieces.”
The conventional concert morphed into a rather rhythmically rich climax, with extended improvisations by the artiste.
Improvisations are usually not planned by the artiste; it is something that comes spontaneously to them.
It usually brings a sense of mood to the piece depending on the musician’s experience with his audience and atmosphere in the room.
John played an improvisation that left the audience mesmerised. He confirmed that his improvisations during the concert were one of a kind and had never been played before and will not be played again.
“It’s going to happen just once; this is something that we will share among ourselves and this improvised piece will never be performed again,” expressed John.The audience found the show astounding and was awestruck.
This fantastic recital brought a lot of creativity and emotions into the room.
“The piano recital was inspirational. I’m planning to start learning the piano again. The Bach piece was my favourite and I also took pleasure in the last improvisation, which was all in the moment,” says Noorain Ahmed, a member of the audience.
Shankar C, another spectator, thought the recital was decidedly eccentric.
He says he thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially the improvisations which gave him a feeling of melancholy.