Pianist Porter Shares His Talent

Faculty pianist Stephen Porter has played concerts all over the world. To start off his Fall season, Porter played a phenomenal recital last Friday in the Cochran Chapel. Porter said he will take this program to Newton, Nantucket and “a few other places as well.” Porter first performed the “Keyboard Suite in B-flat Major, HWV 440,” composed by George Frideric Handel, one of the great masters of Baroque music. His works, typical to the Baroque style, employ strong chord progressions, stable harmony and an overall tonal quality. This particular piece was technically complex, incorporating many passages with delicate trills and melodies accompanied by a bold baseline. Porter executed the piece beautifully, impressing the audience with his immaculate trills and musical technicalities. Melina Prentakis ’11 said, “It was crazy how fast and how well he plays!” The next piece was the descriptive “Miroirs” by Maurice Ravel. “Miroirs” was definitely the hit of the evening because of the remarkable musical techniques and visuals involved in each movement. The movement “Une Barque sur l’Ocèan” (A Boat on the Ocean) intertwined the steady melody of the floating boat with the dynamic sounds of the ocean. The melody first imitated the light, serene waves of the ocean and then progressed to the more violent, turbulent sounds of the rough seas. The final piece of the program was, as described by Porter, “truly unique.” “Sonata in B minor,” by Franz Liszt, is the only one-movement sonata by a former maestro that is thirty minutes long. Porter has been playing this piece for over a decade and has ended many concerts with it. The sonata is an enormous, challenging piece, but Porter named it as one of his favorites nevertheless. Porter performed every piece with graceful care, beautifully articulating each note and expressing each dynamic. The wonderful sound quality of the concert grand Steinway piano and the spacious acoustics of the Cochran Chapel complemented Porter’s skills and his selection of difficult pieces. To end the evening, Porter played a short encore to balance out the long sonata. His selection was “Nocturne in F# Major” by Frédéric Chopin. Porter played the encore beautifully just like the rest of the program, and the piece served as the perfect ending to a lovely concert. There’s no secret to being a great musician. According to Porter, it all comes down to hard work and loving the music. Not only does Porter express the importance of these values in his words, but also in the way he performs and talks about his experience in playing piano.