Jan Lisiecki plays Chopin

Jan Lisiecki
Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.

Pianist Jan Lisiecki played an all-Chopin Recital Friday, October 15, at the McCarter in Princeton, NJ.

Mr. Lisiecki wrote a short Note From the Artist. He explained his reasoning for the program. The program consisted of two sheets of paper, one with the program, the other with this Note. It also could be found online.

Jan Lisiecki has appeared in most of the major music venues of the western world and collaborated with a host of international conductors, orchestras, and colleagues, All this at age 26. He is also extremely tall and handsome, with an engaging boyishness. Included videos will show him looking splendid, with a marvelous turbulence of blond hair. He also sits on the piano bench with what seems to be three inches of his body. The wonderful video of him being interviewed by a Polish reporter is priceless. Several videos attest to his masterful playing skill.

The program was titled, Poems of the Night, with etudes and nocturnes composing the entire evening. The audience was requested to refrain from applause until the first half of the program ended. This made sense, since a few pieces were only a few minutes long. However, it was an odd feeling, since there were a dozen pieces, with little or no pause. Thankfully, the program varied from early works to later ones, with plenty of innovation along the way.

Mr. Lisiecki began strongly with Chopin’s Etude in C major, Op. 10 No.1. His style of pianism is strong and crisp, with plenty of scope in his playing. There are no dreamy, hazy mists lingering over his Chopin unless specifically called for. The Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No.1 proved to be an Olympian conclusion to the first half of the program.

After the fifteen-minute intermission, the program opened with the Nocturne in G minor, Op. 15 No. 3. Nine more etudes and nocturnes followed, concluding with a splendid Etude in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12.

As expected, the audience this evening in Matthews Theatre sprang to their feet for a prolonged ovation. The artist reappeared the second time to sit down and speak to the audience. He played an encore, a short piece by Paderewski which when concluded elicited more acclaim.

The McCarter Theatre
Center 91 University Pl,
Princeton, NJ 08540. Phone: (609) 258-2787

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