The Deceptively Easy Mastery of Gilbert Kalish

In this recording of Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, Gilbert Kalish presents an appealing program of works he knows well. The opening and closing works are the final piano sonatas of their respective composers — Haydn and Schubert, with a selection of short works by Beethoven in the middle.

Haydn’s Sonata No. 62 in E-flat (Hob.XVI:52)  was composed for a gifted performer, and is one of Haydn’s more complex piano works. Nonetheless, Kalish keeps things light and elegant. His well-rounded phrasing and subtle emphasis captures Haydn’s reserved elegance perfectly.

Kalish also plays Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat, D. 960 in a slightly reserved fashion — but it works. Rather than overwhelming the listener with emotion, Kalish’s performance reveals the beautiful construction of the work. One hears the intricate patterns and lines of the sonata, rather than a furious rush of notes.

The Bagatelles, Op. 119 of Beethoven balance nicely with the two sonatas. These are short, relatively simple works (by Beethoven standards). Each bagatelle is lovingly performed by Kalish, turned into miniature gems by his musicianship.

Kalish plays with the fluid assurance that comes from a lifetime of music-making. He isn’t trying to prove anything, or even assert his personality. He just plays, and it sounds like he’s enjoying every moment. As did I.

Franz Joseph Handy: Sonata No. 62 in E-flat, Hob.XVI;52; Ludwig van Beethoven: Bagatelles, Op. 119; Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat, D.960
Gilbert Kalish, piano
Bridge Records

More Recent Posts

  • Scott Wheeler – Portraits and Tributes

    “The piano is an instrument I play, sometimes in public, though hardly as a virtuoso or a recitalist.” That’s how Scott Wheeler begins his liner notes. As he explains, “I have always used the composer as a sketch pad, a place to explore ideas in two-minute pieces that might turn up in larger works.” The […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 9/23/2016

    New Jazz Adds – 9/23/2016 Joey Alexander – Countdown (Motema): Pianist Joey Alexander is a 13 year old Indonesian boy who is considered to be a prodigy as this, his second release, clearly justifies. He composed three of the nine songs on offer and the covers include “Countdown” (John Coltrane), “Maiden Voyage” (Herbie Hancock), “Criss […]

  • Sacabuche! Performs 17th Century Italian Motet

    The early baroque practice of doubling voices with trombones is well-known. Although instruments weren’t always specified, there were plenty of woodcuts and paintings illustrating the practice. The baroque trombone, or sackbut, had a smaller bore than a modern instrument, but otherwise quite similar. Scholarship has led to informed performance practices that incorporate trombones into baroque […]

  • Jazz Marathon: Live Music All Week

    Every night during the Jazz Marathon, Sept 26 – Oct 2, you can enjoy sensational live music straight from our lounge.  You could simply listen over the radio or web stream, or you could come out and be part of the live studio audience!  Doors open at 6:30. Sept 26: Gina Sobel (w/ Choose Your […]

  • Jazz Marathon: Dhara Goradia Live Sunday October 2

    Tune in to catch Dhara Goradia live on Sunday, October 2nd from 7-8pm. The bassist/composer/bandleader Dhara Goradia returned to Charlottesville recently after spending a couple of years on the West Coast. She will perform with her exotic world/jazz group Quiet Fire, which features Loren Oppenheimer on tabla, and Brett Jones on guitar.

  • Jazz Marathon: Paulien Live at the Southern Sunday October 2

    Tune in to hear Paulien live from the Southern on Sunday, October 2nd from 4-6pm. From Piaf to Porter, a theater show by Dutch singer Paulien, is a musical story about the French influence on the “Great American Songbook.” With classics like “Que Reste t’il De Nos Amours (Trenet), “La Vie en Rose” (Piaf), and […]