Fabio Bidini may not be a marquee name, but critics and audiences agree that he is one of the most distinguished pianists of his generation. The Friends of Chamber Music will present the 49-year-old Italian in recital March 10 at the Folly Theater.
Bidini, who was a finalist in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will perform music by Muzio Clementi, Beethoven, Debussy and Robert Schumann. The two meatiest works on the program are Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata in C, Op. 53 and Schumann’s “Carnaval,” Op. 9.
Beethoven completed the “Waldstein” in 1804. It’s considered one of the most important works of his “Heroic” decade, 1803-1812. Dedicated to Viennese Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein, it’s one of Beethoven’s most demanding works for the performer and one of his most popular with audiences.
The first movement, with its driving, propulsive theme, is Beethoven at his fist-shaking best. The rest of the sonata is filled with contrasting moods and brilliant inventiveness, until it finally concludes in exultation.
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“Carnaval” is Schumann’s evocation of the pre-Lenten festival, as well as a series of miniature portraits of friends and colleagues. It’s also filled with many other surprises, including key note puzzles and literary allusions. Schumann wrote that his “masked ball” would be a “real game” for pianists and listeners.
Schumann and his wife, Clara, never expected the complex work to be given a public performance. Indeed, it was rarely performed during Schumann’s lifetime. Franz Liszt performed select movements at a concert in Leipzig in 1850, but he predicted that “Carnaval” would “assume its natural place in the public eye alongside Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which in my opinion it even surpasses in melodic invention and conciseness.”
Rounding out Bidini’s program is a sonata by Clementi and some of Debussy’s finest tone painting for piano, his “Images,” Book 1. The first “Image,” “Reflets dans l’eau,” is a shimmering example of Debussy’s musical impressionism. The second movement, “Hommage à Rameau,” is a tribute to the eponymous Baroque composer, and the final movement, titled simply “Mouvement,” is an almost machine-like blur of rippling triplets.
William Everett, professor of musicology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music, will give a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
7:30 p.m. March 10. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $25-$35. 816-561-9999 or chambermusic.org.
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet creates a sound that is almost symphonic. The Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College will present the four outstanding musicians March 11 at Yardley Hall. The quartet will perform works from a variety of eras and genres, with a special treat for local music lovers, a piece written especially for them by Lee’s Summit native and acclaimed jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
7 p.m. March 11. Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. $15-$40. 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/theseries.
Classics Uncorked: At the Movies
The next Classics Uncorked concert, “At the Movies,” will feature some of the most famous examples of classical music used in film, like Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” made famous in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” which accompanied the napalm-dropping air raid in “Apocalypse Now.”
As with all “Classics Uncorked” concerts, you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or champagne after the concert and chat with Symphony musicians in the Kauffman Center’s Brandmeyer Great Hall lobby.
7 p.m. March 8. $25-$30. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400 or kcsymphony.org.
You can reach Patrick Neas at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at facebook.com/kcartsbeat.