At times brilliant, at times disappointing, Eduardo Delgado's recital at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton on Sunday surveyed a wide spectrum of piano music, with varying degrees of success.
To Ginastera's "Suite de Danzas Criollas," the pianist (from Argentina, like the composer) brought fire, passion and extraordinary rhythmic drive. He delivered melodic passages with uncommon lyricism and effortless fluency. He gave similarly propulsive, dramatic readings of three encores by the same composer; Schumann's "In the Evening," another encore, also received effective treatment.
Earlier, Delgado delivered an absolutely stunning performance of Granados' "The Maiden and the Nightingale" from the "Goyescas" suite. He combined a superb sense of nuance, fine contrasts and highly intelligent shaping of the piece with balance, clarity and accuracy.
He also shaped Chopin's Scherzo in B-flat minor, Opus 31, brilliantly, and, some technical errors notwithstanding, gave it an unyielding sense of direction. Four Chopin waltzes, however, suffered both from a lack of overall shape and a plethora of wrong notes.
In Brahms' Piano Pieces, Opus 118, the Cal State Los Angeles faculty member showed an uncommon ability to make the piano sing, though the Young Chang instrument sounded rather brittle in the upper register and somewhat unevenly voiced.
Delgado played with great control and striking sensitivity in the softest passages, producing a sound of breathtaking ethereality. Even so, the six pieces received markedly uneven treatment; sometimes inner voices were brought out properly, sometimes not, and accuracy was fleeting, particularly in the G-minor Ballade.
Delgado opened the program with a pensive and moving account of two Bach chorale preludes arranged by Busoni. The pianist showed an uncanny ability to weave a continuous melodic line, but he inexplicably broke that line several times in the second chorale prelude, thus halting the momentum.
The sponsoring organization, Fullerton Friends of Music, filled the small auditorium and placed additional listeners on the stage. Unfortunately, the hall remained at Siberian temperatures all afternoon. More annoying were the distractions rendered by a trigger-happy lighting executant and a few members of the U.S. Olympic coughing team.