Internationally acclaimed pianist Teresa Walters from New York performed the opening Penticton Community Concert for their 61st season last week at the cozy comfortable Cleland Theatre. Her program titled “Moonlight and Romance: Cameos of Great Composers and Well-Loved Melodies” offered music that she learned to love as a child.
Looking very much like a movie star in her floor-length crystal-embroidered black gown with her long platinum hair and model figure she cast a spell from the start. She spoke about Beethoven’s tragic circumstances when he wrote his Moonlight Sonata, the introductory piece. Walters performed it with tender melancholy and balanced the basses and the descants harmoniously creating a transparent sound of classical clarity.
Frederic Chopin, the poet of the piano, captured the love for his homeland Poland in the yearning theme melody of his Etude in E Major. Walters played it with controlled tempos, bold chords and delicate treble passages. It sounded effortless in spite of the technical challenges. Then Walters talked about the romance of Robert and Clara Schumann and how they wrote musical love letters to each other. She played Robert Schumann’s Romance Op. 28 No.2 and Clara Schumann’s Romance Op. 5 No.3 with rich dynamic shading expressing the composer’s emotions in her interpretation.
After the intermission Walters entered in a sequined blue dress with matching sparkling shoes. The cascading arpeggios in Franz Liszt’s Les Jeux d’Eaux a la Villa d’Este combined with the glitter of the sequins were spectacular. George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a musical kaleidoscope of America, ended the program. It was a medley of playful, optimistic jazz themes with syncopated rhythms and blues tonalities.
Much enthusiastic applause convinced Walters to play an encore, a sweet lullaby-like Liszt transcription by Archidelt.
It was a suitable ending for a very enjoyable concert by a talented and gracious pianist.
Roswitha Masson is a concert reviewer from Penticton.