by Robert Rollin
Last Friday evening Cleveland Institute faculty pianist Daniel Shapiro presented an exemplary and varied Mixon Hall piano recital assisted by two talented student artist string players. About a decade ago I enjoyed hearing him perform a Beethoven Sonatas lecture recital when he visited us at Youngstown State’s Dana School. He demonstrated his layered foreground, middle ground, and background dynamic levels, playing Beethoven with a clarity and expression reminiscent of Sviatislav Richter’s great Beethoven recordings. This three-tiered dynamic approach seemed particularly present in his wonderful first-half Bach and Brahms solo performances.
Shapiro played Bach’s French Suite No 5 in G Major, BWV 816, a delightful Baroque dance collection, beautifully. The stately Allemande’s tempo was steady, yet flexible, enhancing the intricate mix of chromatic linear and harmonic treatment. The spritely Courante was nicely shaped, as Shapiro varied the repetitions with ornaments and dynamic changes. The movement’s second binary portion sparkled with many chromatic harmonies followed immediately by a closing Picardy third. The slow, soulful Sarabande was stunningly expressive, mixing stepwise and surprisingly angular melodic skips. The mood was that of a gorgeous Bach Cantata arioso, and Shapiro negotiated the tempo nuances tastefully. Shapiro continued to vary the repeats in both Gavotte and Bourée, and gave the whimsical and graceful Loure, a tasteful and imaginative performance. The closing fugal Gigue, replete with surging rhythms, was intense, yet graceful and expressive. [Read more…]