Anton Nel Performs a Dazzling Array of Solo Piano Works at the 2011 Piano
Celebration at the King Center in Denver Colorado
Friday, Feb 25, 2011
On a Friday evening, Feb 11, 2011 I attended with my family, a concert at the King Center in Denver, Colorado presented under the auspices of Metropolitan State College. The performer was concert piano soloist Anton Nel, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa.
I must say that I was favorably impressed by his performance of a slue of major “meat and potato” classical piano works including;
- 12 Variations on “Les Folies d’Espagne” in D Minor, Wq. 118/9 by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach
- Barcarolle in F – Sharp Major, Op. 60 by Fredrick Chopin
- Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”) by Beethoven
- from Preludes, Book 1, 6 works by Claude Debussy – Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Quest, La fille aux cheveux de lin, La serenade interompue, La cathedrale engloutie, La danse de Puck and Minstrels
- Mephisto Waltz No. 1 in A Major by Franz Liszt
Anton Nel displayed his mastery of a broad range of styles including the Baroque, early Romantic, Romantic, Late Romantic and Impressionistic era’s of classic piano works. Throughout his performance of the above listed works, I heard a pianist who has traveled deeply into the nuance and myriad possibilities and opportunities for expression that these compositions offer the performer.
While listening to his playing, what kept ringing in the back of my mind were words of my piano teachers who repeated over and over again that as a classical pianist “you must think of yourself as an opera singer and an orchestra, depending on the appropriate occasion for either or both.”
Mr. Nell displayed stunning dynamic and emotional breadth and technical competence in his playing. I would recommend him as pianist worthy of notice and attendance to his concerts here at home and abroad.
Speaking of attendance, the only downside I could see in this concert was that it was poorly attended. The audience seemed to consist of students, faculty and a sprinkling of classical piano aficionados, including myself. The hall was barely 50% full.
As I mentioned this to my wife, she referred to classical music and performance as possibly becoming “a dying breed?” It made me sad to think that there might be some real truth in that. It was quite a shame to see a world class pianist attracting so few and brought back for me childhood memories of live performances to packed houses of Vladimir Horowitz and Artur Rubenstein at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Notwithstanding, this did not detract one iota from the outstanding quality of this concert. I highly recommend future attendance to other musical events of similar nature presented by Metro State College.