April 18, 2019: Diego Caetano at Amarillo College – April 2, 2019

Diego Caetano
Amarillo College
April 2, 2019

Some two-score lucky listeners on April 2 at the Concert Hall heard a solo recital by AC’s world-renown pianist, Diego Caetano.

Diego opened with Haydn’s Sonata in E flat Major Hob XVI/52. This was the last of Haydn’s sonatas which some consider his greatest, and was composed in 1794 for Theresa Jansen, a noted London performer.

A peppy opening Allegro leads to a pounding counterpoint prompting the question of whether Haydn was subtly mocking Baroque structure.

The Adagio first conveys a happy spring morning feel, but changes themes which are then bounced back-and-forth. The Finale is snappy then arpeggiated with an almost modern sound.

The harmonic complexity and moods of this work are broad for Poppa Haydn, making one wonder whether he was revealing a wry sense of humor.

Or, perhaps it was the infusion of the artist’s personality into the piece. Only the composer’s shade and Diego know the answer.

A second sonata was the massive five part Sonata in F minor Op 5 by Johannes Brahms. This work, a combination of Romantic adventurism within a classical scaffold, was written in 1853 when Brahms was only twenty, and dedicated to Countess von Hohenthal of Leipzig.

The opening powerful chords of the Allegretto suggest an influence for Rachmaninoff. The themes in different keys are developed with the right and left hands in almost adversarial confrontation.

The Andante had a totally different character, beginning pensively and soft under the aegis of a romantic poem by Otto Inkermann then elaborating two themes possibly representing beating hearts.

A romping Scherzo is followed by an Intermezzo which Brahms called Ruckblick or “remembrance.” This movement repeats Beethoven’s “fate motif” from his Symphony No. 5 which also appears in the first and second movements.

The Finale has an unusual opening, but then develops several themes, from the ponderous to the playful, but which coalesce triumphantly.

This work stands as one of the pinnacles for solo piano performance, and we heard an inimitable rendering this evening in Cowboy Country.

Two short works in the list included Allegro de Concierto by Enrique Granados. This work, written in 1903, was the winner in a competition at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid whose entrants included a young Manuel de Falla.

This piece, as opposed to most of his oeuvre, is surprisingly free of Spanish themes and written in a sonata form. Though at times stating little more than a simple melody, at others, especially towards the end, the work resounds with emphatic arpeggios.

The final selection of the evening was Tango, Op 61, by the Brazilian Marlos Nobre as a memorial to Arthur Rubinstein. Thus, this piece features a smorgasbord of themes, from a sort of Hollywood 1930’s to almost a war footing. Hopefully this performance means that we’ll be hearing more of Nobre.

World-class performance by a world-class artist, free and open to the public out on the wide open plains: where else but Amarillo? So, all the more reason to say, “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!!”

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