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Toran's water-themed concert lacked fire
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Toran's water-themed concert lacked fire

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

Pianist Sylvia Toran
October 13
Meany Hall, UW campus


Spanish pianist Sylvia Toran began her recital by dedicating it to the memory of the recently departed Alicia de Larocca. Unfortunately, her announced respect for that passionate artist was not in any way evident in this evening's performance. Even her manner was more that of a journeyman doing an assigned job than of an artist fervently wishing to share her love of music with us. Indeed, in moments of intended passion, she merely worked harder and communicated no fire or excitement.

Technically, Toran was a competent pianist with a lovely touch and beautiful tone. Despite being on the concert stage for more than 20 years, she woefully misjudged in picking her program. The music was all associated with one theme: water. The trouble was that it began to sound all alike, totally lacking in contrast. While I didn't quite get seasick, I often lost interest as my mind floated away, seeking something more exciting than rocking waves of similar sounds, however lovely they might be.

Indeed, the pianist seemed uncertain about the program, having changed it from the printed program not once but twice! There was a green printed program change inserted in the Encore magazine, and then she announced an additional change before she began. Perhaps she sensed that all was not well but lacked the vision to correct it.

The program included three pieces by Albéniz: "Evocación," "El Puerto," and a longer work called "La Vega." These were interspersed with two selections from Images, Book I by Debussy, Ravel's "Jeux d'eau," "Les Jeux d'eau all Villa d'Este" by Liszt, and finally Falla's "Fantasia baetica." None of it caught fire, drowned as it was by so much "eau."

I'm told that the best of all was an encore by Bach, but I had not the patience to stay, not expecting anything so refreshing as Bach!

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

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