Jean-Yves Thibaudet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jean-Yves Thibaudet

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Last month Jean-Yves Thibaudet was one of the headliners at the Cartagena International Music Festival, offering an outstanding performance of Saint-Saens's Second Piano Concerto. He gave the dramatic Bach-like opening a bold, rich sound and played the first movement's lyrical passages soulfully, the virtuosic sections with bravura. And though the piano had a stiff, difficult action, he maintained the necessary lightness of the second movement at an impressively brisk tempo and kept up the speed through the third. This recital has a complementary structure--in each half several short pieces are followed by a larger one that was influenced by them. In the first half Thibaudet will play a group of Chopin gems--two nocturnes (op. 9, no. 1 and 2), two etudes (op. 25, no. 1 and no. 3), and two waltzes (op. 18 and op. 34, no. 2)--and then Franz Liszt's grand and intense Dante Sonata. The second half starts with three pieces by the peculiar but innovative Erik Satie, including the languorous Gymnopedie no. 1, and three of Debussy's etudes (no. 5, no. 7, and no. 11). It concludes with "Regard de l'Eglise d'Amour," the final movement from Olivier Messiaen's masterpiece Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus. a 3 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$41.

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