Local pianist Michael Brady is continuing an annual tradition of welcoming the new year with a solo piano concert on Friday (Jan. 1) at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp.
This is Brady’s 11th-annual concert (what he discreetly terms “the 10th anniversary of his 50th-birthday recital”).
Brady is featuring expressive music of the Romantic era by Johannes Brahms and Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as an early-20th-century transcription for piano of a J.S. Bach organ toccata by Ferruccio Busoni.
“Busoni was trying to recreate the sonic majesty of a pipe organ on a piano,” said Brady, explaining how Busoni added complex chords to simulate the overtones on an organ. “It’s a fun, elaborate piece,” he said.
Brady will also play three intermezzos by Brahms, among the composer’s latest works. “It’s some of the most intimate, introspective, quiet music Brahms ever wrote,” said Brady. “It’s very, very profound – and sublimely beautiful.”
Beethoven’s “Appassionata” sonata rounds out the recital. Brady has had his eye on the piece since he was in the eighth or ninth grade, but his piano teacher dissuaded him from playing it, saying he “had not lived enough.”
With the passage of time, Brady feels confident he has accumulated the life experiences that equip him to tackle the piece, which he describes as having “an almost schizophrenic contrast in emotion.”
“It’s one of the Mount Everests of the piano because it has captivated everyone” since Beethoven composed it 210 years ago, he said.
The concert is at 2 p.m. Admission is by donation; proceeds benefit Room One.