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Devoted audience enraptured by Bach for 80-minute tour de force; more Bach this weekend at Kleinhans

On Wednesday night, about 330 people left their bodies in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall, stepped onto an Astral Traveler that looked an awful lot like a Steinway grand piano, and went off on a spiritual journey guided by the genius of Bach, as channeled through one of his disciples, visiting concert pianist Angela Hewitt. Although we touched down after 80 minutes, many feel as if they are still floating out there. I was looking forward to the experience, and like most in the audience, had heard recordings of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” but had never experienced them performed, in a live concert setting, uninterrupted for 80 minutes, from start to finish. Everyone was moved, it was obvious, and in my case I was almost overwhelmed by a desire to have us all hold hands. In our cynical age people will exhort you to have a hard edge by saying things like “well, we’re not going to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ I can tell you.” But for me this was “a Kumbaya moment” and they don’t come along that often.

Angela Hewitt will offer a Master Class for several pre-selected pianists on Friday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue.

Angela Hewitt will offer a Master Class for several pre-selected pianists on Friday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue. As a member of the audience you don’t have to do anything; just sit there and listen to the young performers play a little, and learn a few things about the music as Hewitt gives them pointers. Master Classes are fun. For the audience.

Then Hewitt will play Bach’s most popular and beloved keyboard concerto (the one in D minor) along with one in D major, with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Stefan Sanders conducting, on the main stage of Kleinhans Music Hall on March 25 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday March 26 at 2:30 p.m.  In this conversation with Hewitt playing the D major concerto in the background, she tells how she chose the two concertos which she will play. The answer includes her observation: “The D minor is the greatest… no argument.” Tickets will be available at the door, or call (716) 885-5000 or visit www.bpo.org

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For 20 years, as program host on Classical 94.5 WNED and continuing on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists as he asks them to explain, in layman's terms, "what's the big picture here?"

As mentioned recently in Buffalo Spree magazine, Peter's "Buffalo Rising reviews are the no-holds barred 'everyman's' take." And, on “Theater Talk” (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM and Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED) his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?"

A member of Buffalo's Artie Awards Committee, Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

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