Beth Levin and Reed Tetzloff, Pianists

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Donald Isler
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Beth Levin and Reed Tetzloff, Pianists

Post by Donald Isler » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:38 pm

Beth Levin and Reed Tetzloff, Pianists
The Greenwich Arts Center
Greenwich, Connecticut
March 16th, 2019

Handel: Keyboard Suite in D Minor, HWV 428
Beethoven: Sonata in B-Flat Major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier")
iii: Adagio sostenuto
Ms. Levin

Schubert: Fantasy in F Minor for Piano Four Hands, D. 940
Ms. Levin and Mr. Tetzloff

Liszt/Busoni: Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale "Ad nos, salutarem undam"
Mr. Tetzloff

This was an unusual concert, and an opportunity to hear two pianists whose concerts I enjoyed last summer (and reviewed for the Classical Music Guide) perform both as soloists, and together. It took place at the elegant Greenwich Arts Center, and was part of a series called Pamela Kuhn's Soirees by Moonlight. After the concert Ms. Kuhn interviewed the artists. Though Mr. Tetzloff is a young musician fast making a name for himself, and Ms. Levin is an established artist with a loyal following, they clearly have a mutual admiration society. Indeed, Ms. Levin, emphasized that she had learned a lot from him. Both are now managed by Natasha Cherny.

At her recital at Barge Music last summer Ms. Levin played the same Handel Suite, and, indeed, the entire Hammerklavier, of which she played only the slow movement this time. The Handel was played in the great romantic and pianistic tradition, with a big sound and lots of pedal. One heard brilliant passagework, some high drama, but also beautiful shadings. Ms. Levin has a reputation as a Beethoven player, having performed and recorded the last three sonatas, and now the Hammerklavier, the fourth from the last. (Hmmm..... Just had an idea: Maybe she will record the entire sonata cycle in reverse order!) Not surprisingly, one heard the passion for, and the commitment she has to this music. And, though there was power, there was also some exquisite soft playing.

The Schubert Fantasy is one of the great works for piano four hands. I would like to think that it's rare for a pianist who has at least one friend who's also a pianist not to have learned, or at least read through it. It has many moods, and sections. Indeed, it was a pleasure to hear two artists of this caliber play it. I've always thought of it as the duo it is, but hearing them, it sounded like a solo performance, so good was the ensemble. Indeed, they got all those tricky double dotted rhythms smack together, and the last chord, which is so hard to get perfectly together, was almost as good. The tempi they chose were generally straight-forward, and unfussy. There was some lovely, whimsical playing, and sensitivity to color changes, but also wonderful clarity, and strength, especially in the later fugal section.

The second half of the program found Mr. Tetzloff playing an almost half hour long blockbuster which is not known by many people (myself included). He told us that Liszt's Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale "Ad nos, salutarem undam" was Liszt's first work for organ, and that it was written around the same time he wrote the famous B Minor (Piano) Sonata. Busoni later transcribed it for piano. It has a motif that comes back in many guises. There are big, bombastic sections, others that are recitativo-like, and still others which sound like religious incantations. Mr. Tetzloff, who never appeared less than comfortably in control, also demonstrated how beautifully he can shape a melody, as well as his fine, and subtle control of soft playing. Not surprisingly, this huge work included a brilliant contrapuntal section, and a last, triumphant statement of the motif.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

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Re: Beth Levin and Reed Tetzloff, Pianists

Post by Rach3 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:06 pm

Thanks for this review. I am not familiar with Ms.Levin, but shall keep an ear out for her. I have heard Mr.Tetzloff in live recital , concerto, and competition broadcasts before, and was usually impressed. He has a cd of Ravel and a cd of the complete Chopin Etudes I've heard , both excellent. I was sufficiently impressed with his originality in the Etudes that I acquired that cd.

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