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Review 1 for James Tocco
Indiana University Auer Hall @
- Bloomington @
, IN @
- Fri, Jul 16, 2010 @
We heard James Tocco as a young man, some 25 years ago. He was endowed with tremendous technique, a wide repertoire, and an exciting and charismatic presence. We were curious to see what he sounded like today. Regretfully, we were disappointed. His playing showed great force, technical agility, and composure, but what it lacked was any sense that the music was more important than his interpretation. His playing of Chopin's "Preludes" was percussive rather than lyrical. His Schumann did not show the composition to good effect. In fact, my first impression was that it was a dreadful piece of music: leaden and predictable. Tocco's performance of the Barber was a bravura performance of what appears to be a difficult piece; there was a sense, as there wasn't in the more traditional works, of discovery and excitement.
I'm afraid that his Chopin was willfully eccentric, as if he were somehow insistent on playing Chopin differently from anyone else. That he accomplished, but how much Chopin remained? As we were leaving the concert hall, a friend said, simply and aptly, "Too much banging on the piano for me!"