By Sarah Hong ’21, Hopkins Center Arts Ambassador
Have you ever gone to a classical music concert and wondered when to clap? At the start of his concert in the Hop’s Spaluding Auditorium on Wednesday, April 25, pianist Inon Barnatan eased the audience’s fears when he announced that for the first half he would play a continuous 45-minute program without break. The program was his rendition of a Baroque dance suite, incorporating pieces by different composers across different centuries. His suite featured diverse works from Handel, Bach, Rameau, Couperin, Ravel, Ades, Ligeti and Barber.
Barnatan’s playing was exquisite and technically brilliant. He mastered light and bouncy runs with great clarity and evenness. His skillful voicing made the melody clear and radiant in even the most technically complex sections of music. Barnatan also showed his expressiveness and adaptability when switching instantaneously between sonorous chords and soft, playful melodies. Though the pieces in the suite all built off each other melodically, each piece had its own unique tone and colors depending on the composer and musical era. It was almost like hearing a musical theme travel through time, transforming in different musical contexts.
After containing their applause for 45 minutes, the audience showed their appreciation with applause so long that Barnatan had to come out and bow twice. Then during the second half, Barnatan played Brahms’s “Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24.” The roaring applause drew Barnatan out for two encores, a slow, silvery Bach piece and a nimble and the show-stopping Mendelssohn Rondo Capriccioso.