Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ingolf Wunder

This past Sunday afternoon I had the great good fortune to hear Ingolf Wunder perform over at Montpelier. The concert was arranged by Chopin in Barboursville.

Here is the program:

   Sonata in B-flat Major - KV 333

   Nocturne Op. 55/2
   Nocturne Op. 9/3
   Ballade No. 1
   Nocturne Op. 62/1
   Allegro de concert Op. 46


It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of listening to music I've ever had. Mr. Wunder has the uncanny ability of bringing music to life in such a way that at every moment you feel the totality of the piece, while at the same time each detail is lovingly created. 

Over and over I had the sense he was feeling every note of the music within himself. Not once did I have the sensation, that I often get from classical musicians, that he was just getting through some notes played a thousand times to get to the bits he liked. Every note and every phrase was played in such a way as to convey to the audience his deep sense of what the music expresses.

It was a gestalt experience, and pulling out details does something of a disservice, but I have to mention his astonishing dynamic palette. He used everything from ppp to fff and all manner of shades between them. Most amazing to me was how his crescendi and decrescendi sometimes seemed to go on for measures at a time to wonderful effect. 

Another part of how his playing brings such life to music is his always letting the music breathe, so even when fast it never once sounded rushed. 

Listening to music rarely brings me to tears, but at this performance it happened several times. It was always during the gorgeous pianissimos with the amazingly subtle dynamic shifts followed by just the slightest of breaths. The palpable tenderness catalyzed emotional releases that were analogous to a skilled masseur finding and working on knots of muscle tension and the release feeling so good tears come.

Really good music making is magic, as it casts a spell and takes you for a while to a different plane. After each piece there was a bit of silence as the audience needed to come out of the reveries induced by the music before being able to applaud.  

Thanks to the Chopin in Barbourville group, Montpelier, and especially Ingolf Wunder for this transcendent experience.

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