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Rorianne Schrade's Piano Recital at Weill Hall Celebrates Liszt's 200th Anniversary
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Rorianne Schrade's Piano Recital at Weill Hall Celebrates Liszt's 200th Anniversary

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Impromptu Classics

Rorianne Schrade, Pianist

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary
All Liszt Recital
(Franz Liszt Bio)

Weill Recital Hall
(Carnegie Hall Website)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 23, 2011

Prelude and Fugue in A minor of Bach (BWV 543)
Wild Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) from the Études d’Exécution Transcendantes
Au Lac de Wallenstadt (from Années de Pelerinage)
Pastorale (from Années de Pelerinage)
St. Francis Walking over the Waves (Legende No. 2)
Soirées de Vienne, No. 6 (after Schubert)
Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod’s Faust
Sonata in B minor

Rorianne Schrade is one of the most dynamic, impassioned pianists I’ve seen in live performance in years. She tore through her Liszt retrospective with lightning attack, so much more stunning with the contrasting, esoteric ornamentations. The pieces she chose were rarified and resonant, and Weill Hall seemed just as it should be, with a bright, impressive artist performing on the imposing black Steinway, amidst blue velvet curtains and white sculpted ceilings. Ms. Schrade had many fans in the audience, but not just friends and relations. The audience included devoted musicians and classical music aficionados from the concert community at large. Ms. Schrade was never self-conscious, but, rather, unrestrained and transporting, taking us to lakes, pastoral settings, ballroom waltzes, a hunt, and a cathedral, venues evoked within tonight’s chosen works.

Ms. Schrade’s piano interpretation of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor was elegant and poignant, with fluid, melodic waterfalls. This was a weighty opening piece with exciting dynamics. The Steinway became a cathedral organ with impressionistic imagery. The remaining works were by Liszt, with compositional nods to Schubert and Gounod later on. The “Wild Hunt” began with Ms. Schrade sitting down and attacking the keyboard, with relentless ferocity. This was an exciting shift in mood from the structured first work. Then Ms. Schrade combined Au Lac de Wallenstadt, Pastorale, and St. Francis Walking over the Waves, fusing one to the next. The first work had contrasting tones, clarity, and introspective qualities. Lyrical, romantic themes abounded, before thundering fireworks and foreboding phrases were introduced. She chose to combine these works for their pastoral, bucolic spirituality.

Soirées de Vienne, the nod to Schubert, brought out rhythmic refrains and danceable motifs. It was here that I noted Ms. Schrade’s amazing mastery of this genre, as she played with such ease, owning the keyboard, so to speak, creating rapid, plucky trills. Liszt’s “Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod’s Faust” brought us right to the opera’s dance floor with inherent drama and edge. Ms. Schrade fashioned rapidly twirling passages, with yearning emotionality. Just before intermission, the performance took on an exotic, enthralling aura. Liszt’s Sonata in B minor opened quietly with repetitive and echoing trills. It soon took on a driven intensity that captured the audience’s imagination. Again, soft echoing chords followed tumultuous crescendos, as the range of moods widened in musical serendipity. This Sonata has a theme reminiscent of romantic ballads, and Ms. Schrade showcased its poetic potential. Kudos to Rorianne Schrade, and kudos to Franz Liszt.

Rorianne Schrade
Courtesy of Christian Steiner

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at