Richard Goode is an American pianist and he does not perform a great many recitals. That said, every one that he does is known to be a very unique and special performance.
Mr Goode did not start performing on stage until he was 50 years old because he had such intense stage fright.
This had kept him to largely performing chamber music before he took the plunge and became a soloist. He has an incredible way of drawing in the crowds because his playing is of such exceptional quality.
In this latest production at the Royal Festival Hall he performed 13 pieces by Schumann. When he was playing he made the piano sound as if it was coming alive and he maintained this exceptional performance throughout the entire evening. He also managed to avoid the problem of putting too much drama into the piece ‘Reverie’, which is something that not all pianists manage to achieve.
If you had to describe Goode’s playing in a simple way, you could say that he does not strike the keys of the piano but he touches them in a magical way. He even makes the smallest sounds seem incredibly expressive and he makes even the most complex of pieces seem easily played. For those who hear complex music played by Goode, they will be overwhelmed with his ability to master the keyboard.
In the second half of the performance he played piano by Chopin. This requires an entirely different sort of performance and he adapted his style perfectly. Instead of being closed up and inward as he was in the first half, he became upfront and impressive.
The only problem with the performance is that it felt somewhat underpowered, and he seems to take little delight in this part of performance which will disappoint the audience after such a promising first half. He does play the passage well but he does not seem to tap into the majesty of Chopin’s music.