Confounding those media outlets who've branded Lincoln Center's inaugural Tully Scope Festival as "avant-garde," pianist Emanuel Ax took the stage of Alice Tully Hall Saturday night, with an all-Schubert program of impromptus and sonatas. It felt like a typical Saturday night at the People's Symphony: recital early, party late. They even had the requisite ratio of cane-wielding geezers to youngsters.
Alice Tully proved to be the perfect venue for a solo piano recital: grander than Zankel, but much more intimate than Stern. (No offense, Carnegie, but you are the go-to recital venue in this town.) And the acoustics were both warm and bright.
The highlight of the Manny's program was Schubert's Sonata in B-flat majot, D. 960, the last work Schubert before his untimely death in 1828 at age 31. The sonata is a cerebral sojourn developed over 40 long minutes, at points both lyrical and strange, cheerful and brooding. Manny played it with all the wisdom he's attained over the past 40 years, his touch alternately light or thunderous. Above all, he helped remind us that, while this may have been music from the past, it was written in flesh and blood.
More pics on Flickr.