Friday, March 7, 2008

Dmitri Ratser - A Brilliant Performance!

It is difficult to describe the evening I had as my wife and I enjoyed a talented artist performing an impressive program. Ratser opened the performance with one of my favorite pieces, Schumann's Fanatasy in C Major. I have heard this piece performed live many times, and have several recording, and I have NEVER experienced a performance so rich in interpretation and individual flavor. I was almost brought to tears at one point during the first movement of this work. It was astounding.

His second piece was his own arrangment of three themes from Carmen written in the style of the Great Franz Liszt. Phenomenal! What excitement! I was almost falling out of my seat and could hardly contain myself. The moment he concluded I jumped out of my chair to give him a standing ovation. Within seconds, 3/4ths of the crowd had joined me in a standing ovation. It was a magnificent arrangment with distinct Lisztian style and with a equally dramatic performance.

After an intermission he then Played Liszt's Vallee d’Obermann. This is a wonderful work and his performance, yet again, was stunning. He followed this by performing two of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Preludes and two Etudes. For those of you who may not be familiar with Dmitri Ratser, he is particularly well known for his interpretations of Rachmaninoff. These four works were absolutely no let-down. One of the preludes happened to be the one that I just posted last week, Prelude in C Sharp Minor (which I dedicated to my friend, Dane Laverty). Dane, if you happen to be reading this, he puts us both to shame in the performance of this piece... although that really goes without saying -- Ratser is a brilliant artist.

His final piece was a jazz set of variations on a theme by paganini. He concluded with another round of standing ovations and then graced the audience with an encore of a short piece that I can only guess was by Franz Liszt (Ratser didn't introduce the piece). It was familiar to me, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was.

What an incredible evening. My wife and I both had such a wonderful time. Oh, and of course, he performed on a beautiful Steinway model D piano. Ratser is a Steinway Artist, which means he is a professional pianist of virtuoso level, performs regularly, and owns a steinway piano. I should mention that Steinway does NOT pay pianists to endorse them... in fact, because Steinway Artists must own a Steinway, the ARTIST is the one who pays to endorse Steinway. That alone should indicate what a magnificent instrument they are. Other piano makers pay artists to endorse their pianos, but Steinway does not, and has never needed to. To all who have donated to my SignMyPiano project -- THANK YOU -- hopefully my own dream of owning one of these instruments will not be too far off!

Thank you, Dmitri Ratser for a wonderful evening; and thank you, Bachauer Foundation for sponsoring this event!