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MUSIC REVIEW : BADURA-SKODA IN RECITAL

Pianist Paul Badura-Skoda is probably best known for his scholarly investigations of classical music and his recorded performances on original instruments. But anyone considering him a stereotypically refined Classicist would have been stunned by the impetuous Romantic who appeared Friday evening in Murphy Hall at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester.

The sound and sense of his Mozart--the Fantasy in D minor, K. 397, and the Sonata in B-flat, K. 333--remained brisk and clear, despite an uncommon amount of rubato. His violently pell-mell account of Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata was unquestionably dramatic, at speeds that reduced many passages to purely visceral effects.

Although at times Badura-Skoda’s velocity and pedaling seemed excessive, there was no strictly capricious feeling in his playing. The athletic, sensual exuberance and bittersweet passion that he imparted to Ravel’s “Valses Nobles et Sentimentales” and Chopin’s B-minor Sonata rang true, sounding just one size too large for the intimate, resonant hall.

The excitement, nonetheless, was palpable, and justified musically as well as acrobatically. A standing ovation brought the Viennese pianist back for encores by Chopin and Schubert.

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