I saw Haefliger in a concert Sunday but don't have a whole lot to say; I had not heard of him before. His playing was nice, although I heard about a dozen slips. Most of them were very tiny - more like little 'fluffs' during fast passages. The woman next to me said she didn't hear them, but I know the man in front of me did because he flinched at each one. Even so, Haefliger has a beautiful tone and great technique.
The program, however, was rather on the dull side. It consisted of two Mozart sonatas nos. K.330 and K.331, Wagners "Isolde's Liebestod" arranged by Liszt, and Schubert's sonata D.960. The Mozart was nice, although just one Sonata would have been enough. I did like the Wagner/Liszt piece. Very beautiful and it ends on a soft chord in which Haefliger sat there for the longest time waiting for the vibrations of the strings to die away. Felt like it was for a full minute and fortunately the audience held their breath and nobody coughed. And one more thing - I saw that he rode the una chorda pedal all throughout the Mozart. That was interesting to me. Also, I'm pretty sure he had a memory slip during one or the Mozart variations of K.331. He improvised a little something but it worked well. Probably anyone who does not know the piece could not detect the mishap. Except I think most everyone in the audience were either pianists or does know that piece. Still, he's human - I think a few slips and a little memory lapse is just fine.
The Schubert took up the entire second half, and although it has plenty of beautiful and interesting parts, it seemed to go forever! I dunno...maybe I'm just not into Schubert that much. Or maybe I'd like it more without all the repeats. Anyway, Haefliger played only one encore - the second movement of another Mozart sonata. Not sure which one, but it too was long and very slow - practically put everyone to sleep. I didn't much care for that - I wanted something a bit more livelier. So the concert was nice, but not memorable. I can't say that it's because of anything negative about his playing. Just the program in general didn't thrill me. Oh well, who am I to judge or complain, right?
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In fact, while obviously being steeped in the Austro-German repertoire, Haefliger has a certain name for his imaginative and daring programmes, featuring names like Janacek and Bartok. But that's of course not what draws people to the concert halls.
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