* Notes *
Davitt Moroney gave a marathon performance of Bach's Das Wohltemperirte Clavier as a part of Cal Performances last weekend. This took about 5 hours to complete, and was humanely divided up so that one did not sit for more than an hour at a time. On Saturday evening Part I was played, Sunday afternoon was the first half of Part II, and the second half of Part II came after a 90 minute dinner break. The lights were kept up so that the audience members could read either the extensive program notes or the score. This, along with Moroney's cheerful, amusing commentary in between pieces, lent a studious but comfortable atmosphere to this event in Hertz Hall.
Moroney played the Well-Tempered Clavier on the harpsichord, and the work sounds rather different on this instrument than on the piano. Even having heard these pieces nearly exclusively on piano, one must admit that a historically informed performance can be very effective. Moroney played in a dry, almost astringent manner. He is the very antithesis of the various flashy pianists that contemporary audiences seem to adore so much. One appreciated that he allowed the music to speak for itself, and Bach was never boring in the least.
* Tattling *
The hall was only a little over half full, and I intentionally purchased tickets for the last row. Most of the back rows only had 6 or 7 people in them. For the most part, people were very quiet, and all the electronic noise was limited to times when music was not being played.