by Nick Stubblefield
When SubCulture announced in July 2015 that they were “re-structuring their business model” and cancelling the majority of their lineup, many faithful concert-goers fretted about losing this intimate, inviting venue for good. Luckily, over two years later, it’s still here - though indeed the business model has changed. Now there are far fewer artists on the calendar, with more focus on residencies and concert series.
When I stopped in Wednesday night to hear pianist Ian Hobson perform part six of his eight-part concert series of Debussy and Ravel pieces for piano, I figured he must know his way around the instrument quite well. After all, the now highly-selective venue booked him for eight programs. And my hunch was correct: Hobson, a native Englishman, channeled every ounce of impressionistic beauty in selections from two of France’s beloved composers.
Hobson opened his set with a series of four Debussy works. Berceuse heroique entered like a slow funeral march, gradually building momentum until the climax. Valse and Mazurka are more sprightly numbers, so Hobson’s fingers lightly danced and frolicked across the keys, whereas the Nocturne was grander, darker, requiring a heavier hand.