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Pianist Parker’s recital simply brilliant

SHARE Pianist Parker’s recital simply brilliant

JON KIMURA PARKER, Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah, Thursday.

A frequent guest artist in the past, Jon Kimura Parker has appeared with the Utah Symphony on several occasions and was most recently seen locally with the Orchestra at Temple Square. Thursday, the Canadian pianist returned to Salt Lake City, this time making his recital debut in Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Parker is a consummate artist who has technique and musicality in abundance. And he displayed both in a stellar performance that was nothing short of brilliant.

The highlight of the recital was his arrangement of Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of Spring." Parker began working on the arrangement last fall and premiered it about two weeks ago at a recital at Rice University in Texas. Since then, he has performed it a couple of times before playing it here Thursday.

The arrangement is a technical and musical tour de force demanding the utmost from the pianist. It was a visceral experience hearing it for piano, and Parker played it fabulously, mesmerizing his audience with the score's raw energy and primitive passions.

Parker's arrangement amazingly retains all of the original's orchestral colors. Stravinsky's score calls for a large orchestra, and Parker manages to convey the immensity of the orchestral forces, which in itself is a remarkable achievement.

Parker began each half of his recital with fantasies by Mozart — the C minor, K. 475, to open, and the D minor, K. 397, to start the second half. Both were played with delicate phrases and impeccable precision and definition. Parker brought classical clarity and a hint of romantic sensibility to these two works. This is how Mozart should be played but so seldom is.

Parker also played two impromptus by Schubert in the second half — the B flat major, op. 142, No. 3, and the G flat major, op. 90, No. 3. These captivating pieces were played luminously. Parker brought out their innocent charm with simple elegance.

The final work on the program was William Hirtz's stunning and technically challenging "Wizard of Oz" Fantasy.

Parker also played one encore, Scott Joplin's "Solace."

E-mail: ereichel@desnews.com