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Chris Kypros Piano Recital

The Genius of Albeniz Bach, Beethoven and Chopin in the hands of a virtuoso pianist

Kip Tabb

Among the luminaries of classical composition—Bach, Beethoven and Chopin—it was a lesser known composer that stole the show in Christopher Kypros virtuoso piano performance on Sunday afternoon.

Issac Albeniz does not have the notoriety of the other composers that were on the Bryan Cultural Series program, but the music was so tuneful, so melodic and Kypros’ performance so perfect, that it was as though a window had been opened into the possibilities of Spanish folk music.

The music of Albeniz, generally considered some of the most difficult to play in the classical piano repertoire, almost seems to hide its complexity beneath evocative images of Spanish life in the early 20th century. The Almeria and Triana from Book 2 of Albeniz’s opus Iberia were performed.

 The themes seem to flow into each, as though the listener is being taken on a tour of Almeria, an Andalusian city on the Mediterranean or visiting the Triana, the gypsy quarter of Seville.

Wonderful, beautiful music and worth revisiting time and time again.

Kypros also included selections from Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, and listening to a musician with his understanding of the music and what the composers wanted from their work, creates a sense of taking a journey with Kypros.

The program began with J. S. Bach’s Partita No 2 in C minor. The piece contains so much of what makes Bach one of the most modern of the classical composers—even though he was creating his music in the early 18th century.

The piece begins with a Sinfonia. Stately and powerful, it sets the stage for what is to come. What follows, though, are a series of movements, each one moving the theme away from that heavy, chordal beginning. The piece ends on Capriccio, which is a wonderful free flowing movement that contains so much of why Bach is considered much a modern composer. There is the constant movement of melody and counter melody lines; hints of a theme, then moving quickly beyond that. And watching Kypros perform, with his hands flowing over the piano keys, is to witness the music played the way it was meant to be played.

Kypros made a point of discussing what he was performing, and introducing Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 10 in D Major, and his remarks were perfect in describing the second movement, Largo e mesto, a dark, dense movement.

“The sunlight is not heard,” he said. And he was right.

In the sonata, that movement, the Largo e maesto, shifts to a minor key to build tension, serving as a bridge to the wonderfully melodic passages that follow. The Largo, especially, is tuneful and soothing. The finale is a fast moving race to the finish that recaptures the theme, ending suddenly, abruptly.

Kypros ended the program with the Sonata No. 3, in B minor, Op. 58 by Chopin.

It is a piece of music that begins with a majestic, powerful and beautiful theme—a theme that runs throughout the piece, often appearing in variation, but always there.

Typical of Chopin, the composition has layers of subplots beneath the theme, constantly in motion, and it takes someone with the understanding of the music as well as the skill to play it that Kypros exhibits.

It is more than how smoothly and quickly Kypros can move his fingers across the keys that demonstrate his mastery of the music; though; rather it is that and his understanding of the third movement, Largo, that is evocative and exquisitely melodic, that sets him apart.

Finally there is the Finale, Presto, non tango. And it all comes together at the end.

This was an amazing evening of music. There were some technical difficulties with the Facebook feed, but for anyone wishing to experience the concert for the first time, or to re-experience it, be patient and stick with it…it’s worth the effort.

Next up on the Bryan Cultural Series, Christopher Palestrant returns to the Outer Banks to talk about music in the movies on Wednesday February 24 at 7:30 p.m. His 50 Years of Broadway: from Hair to Hamilton last year was fantastic, and think this year’s show, Big Music in the Movies… and Knowing What to Steal, will be even better.

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