Free-flowing notes

Free-flowing notes

Hungarian delight

Creative: Karl Lutchmayer

That pianist was Karl Lutchmayer, who celebrated the bicentenary of the Hungarian composer and pianist, Franz Liszt, with great depth and reverence at the Alliance Francaise recently.

“It feels really great to be back in Bangalore. I was last here in 1980 and it hasn’t changed a bit since then. It still feels like an English summer,” says Karl. He then began the recital with a piece by Bach adapted by Busoni, which Bach had composed to lament his wife’s death. It was a moving piece and the sorrow seeped into the music and the emotions with which it was played.

UK-based Karl, who is a professor of performing practice at the Trinity College of Music, London, unknowingly let out the professor in him during the recital. He explained the linkage between the composer of the piece and Liszt before performing it, making it a more intimate and personal experience for the audience. As expected, nobody seemed to mind.

“It was very enjoyable, particularly because of his explanations and interpretations. He was one of the few pianists to take the audience through the pieces he was going to play, making it more meaningful,” said Niloufer Gupta, a member of the audience who was left mesme­rised by the end of the recital. “I felt like I was a young student learning something,” she chuckled.

One of the most impressive pieces played by Karl was ‘March to the Scaffold’ from ‘Symphonie Fantastique’. Liszt had originally played the piece solo minutes after it had been performed by an orchestra of 80 musicians. Another noteworthy piece was Beethoven’s ‘Les Adieux,’ a 20-minute-long piece where he tried to find one particular chord which was placed only four bars before the very end. Karl even acted as if he was Beethoven trying to find it but not being able to with his disapproving frowns and shaking of the head as he played.

“I thought he was brilliant — it was so free-flowing and his fingers moved through the rhythm beautifully,” said Nalini Prabhu, an audience member. “I don’t play the piano or understand the nuances of classical music. But I appreciated what I heard and saw,” she added. With anecdotes about Liszt and his pieces of varying tempos and moods, Karl Lutchmayer surely left a little bit of the great Hungarian pianist in the minds of each individual present.

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