Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stewart Goodyear: The Beethoven Marathon

I decided last Saturday to catch the afternoon segment of a landmark event as part of the Luminato Arts Festival.    This event involved a pianist, a performance artist, and 32 sonatas written by a classical giant performed in a single day.

The pianist is a young, world renowned and Canadian born pianist named Stewart Goodyear.   The performance artist is an Indonesian artist by the name of Melati Suryodarmo.   The sonatas were composed by none other than the great romantic composer of the 19th century, Ludwig Van Beethoven.

The Beethoven Sonatas are among the most iconic works of the Romantic classical repertoire, showcasing immense dexterity, moods and passions when performed.  Mr. Stewart Goodyear throughout his performance showcased these and more through his performance, and to add insult to injury he has managed to memorize note for note all 32 sonatas without the need of music or a page-turner.  

I went to the afternoon showing since out of all the sonatas being performed throughout the day, my favourite happens to be the “Moonlight” sonata in C-sharp minor.    For me, it was the highlight of the day and the performance was very spectacular, in which every note was clearly executed and performed with feeling, emotion, and for lack of a better term, soul.

A word about the performance artist.   To enhance the marathon performance of the sonatas, Ms. Melati Suryodarmo displayed the psychological tensions of patience, exhaustion and stamina in an effective and somewhat avant-garde manner in contrast to the piano playing.   By avant-garde, it was bit of intriguing to see a nicely dressed woman making minimal movements and holding up a mirror while the sonatas were performed.   I was expecting more of a coordinated dance movement to the piece, but the minimalism was what got to me and wondered a bit what the purpose was for including her in the performance.

All in all, it was a great afternoon of classical music performed by a wonderful, fresh young talent that calls Toronto his home.



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