* Notes *
The pianist Nicolas Hodges paired Stockhausen and Beethoven for a recital at Cal Performances this afternoon. Hodges made Stockhausen's Klavierstück X oddly compelling for a piece played with wrists, forearms, and elbows. He was able to get quite a lot of sound out of the piano, and emphasize the percussive nature of the instrument. At the same time, he did nuance the various dynamics, and the strange, ethereal harmonics also came out beautifully. In comparison, Beethoven's Hammerklavier was less excitingly played. Hodges seemed to be holding his breath, and the performance was on the dry side. The playing was direct and perhaps a bit mechanical, yet not precise. One wishes a stronger case had been made for putting these particular pieces together, besides the obvious, that both are very difficult.
* Tattling *
There was some whispering, but for the most part, the audience was very quiet. I kept laughing during the Stockhausen, out of both delight and shock, but kept this as silent as I could.