Last week, PianoWorks’ own Sam Bennett attended the Japan Relief Concert at Spivey Hall. Here is his reaction to the concert.
Photos by Alexei Kuznetsoff.
Last Sunday, March 27th, I attended an extraordinary concert at Spivey Hall. The concert was conceived less than 10 days prior, and so many worked tirelessly to arrange and promote this benefit concert on such short notice. PianoWorks graciously provided the concert instrument, a Bosendorfer model 280, to be used both in support of Hilary’s violin and in Valentina’s solo work. The entire event came together fabulously, and over $17,000 was raised to benefit the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund of Direct Relief International. They were originally supposed to be on tour in Japan when it was canceled due to the tragedy there. A Japanese representative was present to thank the audience and receive personal messages of prayer and hope for the people of Japan.
My first instrument was the violin, and I was looking forward to seeing Hilary Hahn perform again, but for me a first time at Spivey Hall and especially with Valentina. She was outstanding. My favorite was a piece new to me by Fritz Kreisler. Her superior technique coaxes the most from her instrument and Valentina gently supported her on the Bosendorfer. It speaks to the quality of their shared performance that the piano almost disappeared, only refocusing attention to Hilary.
Valentina’s first solo was Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and the familiar piece gave way to my own reverie. I silently cheered for Spivey’s audience to allow this piece to be played so intimately. However, I was beginning to fear if the piano would ever come to life, to be tested for its other qualities. Thankfully, I was next treated to a roaring rendition of Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu. Such a performance; first came the appreciation of a finer aspects and then came the “wow!” The night continued on to much applause.
The pair are next headed to Europe where I recommend any who can to set aside time for this concert. For me, it is a memory that will last. If you would like to continue your support for relief efforts in Japan, go here.