by Daniel Hathaway
Thanks to COVID-19, the earth has cycled through four seasons since pianist Emanuel Ax has played a solo recital. He’s looking forward to making up for that with an all-Chopin program on the Tuesday Musical Series at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron on Thursday, March 25 at 7:30 pm.
This time around, the annual Margaret Baxtresser Concert will mark the Association’s first in-person event since the pandemic began, and the management has made sure that all performers have had their vaccinations, and that distancing protocols are respected in the seating plan.
Ax has chosen works from Chopin’s later years: the Two Nocturnes, Op. 55, the Polonaise Fantasie, Op. 61, the Three Mazurkas of Op. 56, the Barcarolle, Op. 60, the Nocturne in E, Op. 62, No. 2, and Scherzo No. 4, Op. 54.
I reached “Manny” Ax by telephone at his getaway in the Berkshires to chat about his program, which I found a bit unusual. Lots of pianists program Chopin, but you don’t often see a complete recital dedicated to his works.
“I’ve never done it, but it’s been done,” he said. “This program is meant to feature incredible masterpieces from Chopin’s later years. I learned some of it that I’d never played before during quarantine and I’m excited about trying out the program. Of course, I’m going to be very nervous because I haven’t done a recital for a year. I hope people will forgive me for things, because it’s going to be difficult in that sense.” [Read more…]