Gabriel Chodos Performs Unique Interpreations

Last Saturday night, a guest piano recital featuring Gabriel Chodos provided engaging entertainment for the Andover community last Saturday night in Cochran Chapel. A teacher, concert artist and recording artist, Chodos is known for his interpretations of music from a repertoire of composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schubert. He has performed across the country and the globe, from London to Japan. Chodos’s dedication and hard work in his musical field earned him the Concert Artists Guild Competition, a Fulbright Scholarship, Martha Baird Rockefeller grants and an NEA Solo Recitalists Grant. Chodos was scheduled to perform in September, but the recital was postponed due to illness. Chodos began the concert playing soft, flowing notes of Johannes Brahms’s “Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118.” The first part of the concert consisted of six interconnected pieces that interchanged between varying scales, chords and rhythms in both major and minor keys. The variation in dynamic added more energy to the recital. The six consecutive compositions were “Intermezzo: Allegro non assai, ma molto passianoata,” “Intermezzo: Andante teneramente,” “Ballade: Allegro energico,” “Intermezzo: Allegretto un poco agitato,” “Romanze: Andante” and “Andante, largo e mesto.” “Ballade: Allegro energico” was the highlight of the first half of the recital. The piece’s quick and uplifting rhythms contrasted with those of other pieces. The Ballade also had unexpected shifts in tempo and dynamics that provided a twist to the melody. After the final piece, “Andante, largo e mesto,” the notes gradually became quieter until the last note faded away. With enthusiastic applause from the audience, the first part of the concert concluded and a short intermission took place. Chodos resumed his performance with the lengthy final piece “Thirty-three Variations on a Waltz” by Ludwig van Beethoven and Anton Diabelli, Op. 120. The Variations started with “Theme: Vivace.” Its cheerful melody, consisting of repetitive notes and dynamic rhythm, enlivened the audience. Each variation was short with distinct melodies. In general, all of the variations were delivered at a fast pace in the major key. Variation Nine, “Allegro pesante e risoluto,” stood out with its repetition of chords in quick succession. The notes played from low to high, creating a unique buildup in the piece. Similarly, Variation 10, “Presto,” attracted the audience’s attention, starting immediately with a trill of notes and chords playing at the same time. This technique made the piece sound like orderly chaos. Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, said, “[‘Waltz’] is Beethoven’s very last piece, very last work for the piano, a couple years before he died, so it’s very rarely performed because it’s huge and demanding.” Walter continued, “Every conceivable manner of expression is explored in the piece. It’s hugely challenging, so this is a good opportunity to hear it. Mr. Chodos has been here before. He’s a wonderful performer.” Chodos said, “I’m happy to play here at any time, and I’m making a recording of these pieces in January.” Chodos was not the only one who had a good time. The audience members also thoroughly enjoyed the recital. Bernadette Norman ’14 said, “For the second half of the concert, I thought it was amazing how so many pieces of music could be made using only one melody in the “Thirty-three Variations” by Ludwig van Beethoven.” Justin Curtis ’15 said, “I really liked the recital. The music was fantastic and very interesting. Personally, I was amazed at how much focus and practice it must have taken to master the lengthy piano pieces. It just shows how great a pianist he is.”