Photo: mine 2008
Boy Howdy, but do I love the shaggy-haired Piotr Anderszewski
. He’s been a regular visitor to the Walt Disney Concert Hall over the last few seasons both with the L.A. Philharmonic and on his own. This year we were lucky enough to welcome him for a rich and wonderful solo recital consisting entirely of Bach keyboard works. Typically, I associate Anderszewski with his masterful performances of Szymanowski. But his performance of these Baroque masterpieces may overwhelm my prior perceptions.
Anderszewski’s take on Partitas Nos. 1 and 2 and English Suite No. 6 hit just the right balance. Neither slavishly period nor overly simplified, he flew at the pieces in a whirlwind taking necessary liberties for these works on a modern instrument that Bach himself had not imagined. Anderszewski played with tempos and dynamics in a way that made sense but was not overly indebted to those that have gone before. It was no overly romantic affair, but avoided an overly intellectual and dry approach that has marred some of the recent appearances by Andras Schiff here during his Beethoven piano sonata cycle. Anderszewski’s precision was remarkable and he dove into the program without pause for audience noises or applause to settle. Yet at the same time he seemed relaxed and warm. He wrapped up with Beethoven in the encore and was greeted with a huge ovation from an unusually large crowd for this sort of program. A great performance from one of the best pianists before the public today.