Professional pianist Dean Kramer charmed audience members with a recital in celebration of the lifetime of the famous composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) on Oct. 11 in Ice Auditorium.
Kramer opened the show with Chopin ballades, No. 1 through No. 4.
“I have been playing this music for a long time, but I have never played all of the ballades together before,” Kramer said. “I think Ballade No. 2 is the most schizo[phrenic].”
The ballades represent a summary of Chopin’s artistic ability and life work. His music, which has much to do with opera, has stood the test of time, Kramer said.
The piece of music Kramer opened with, Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23, began slowly but gained momentum. Each composition had varying rhythms that caused Kramer’s hands to move frantically up and down the piano keys and body to sway theatrically in time with the music.
“Every pianist has their own physicality and body efficiency,” Professor of Music Jill Timmons, artist-in-residence for the Vivian Bull Music Center, said. “It is about articulating and being in command of what you are doing and being fluent while doing it.”
During the second half of the show, Kramer played other compositions by Chopin, such as his barcarolle and sonata.
Kramer, who teaches piano at the University of Oregon, has been touring the region and performing his recital. He has played in Portland and Corvallis, Ore., and will perform Oct. 17 at UO.
This was not Kramer’s first performance at Linfield. Kramer, who is a friend of Timmons, visited the school a few years ago to play an all-Beethoven recital, Timmons said.
“All of the energy and emotion in Beethoven’s music has to be intrinsic. The strength comes from within; with Chopin, it doesn’t have to be,” Kramer said. “It’s about making those sounds in the moment.”
Both composers’ music represents their personalities. For example, Chopin hated performing in front of large crowds, whereas Beethoven enjoyed it, Kramer said.
Chopin was one of the most central composers of the Romantic Era, Timmons said. He devoted all of his time to the piano. His compositions are directed toward more advanced pianists.
“His repertoire is full of lyrical beauty, emotion [and] virtuoso and is fun to play,” she said.
Next year, Kramer will tour Oregon to perform compositions by the famous late Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (1859-1867).
Jessica Prokop/Culture editor
Jessica Prokop can be reached at email@example.com