I saw Peter Serkin perform a concert this afternoon. I have certainly heard of him before, but have never seen him or heard any of his recordings. His program was a little short – started at 3:00 and even with an intermission we were on our way home by 5:45. This was the program: 1. Bull – Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la 2. Debussy – Six épigraphes antiques 3. J. S. Bach – Suite in C minor for Lute Cembalo, BWV 997 He played with music on the stand for the entire first half. Intermission 4. Brahms – Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 Played all by memory. I have nothing bad to say about his playing, but the first half of the concert was a little boring. There just wasn’t enough contrast in the pieces. I know what you’re thinking – “no contrast between Debussy and Bach?!” Well, what I mean is the first piece; the John Bull piece was interesting for about the first minute and then I spaced out. Then came the six Debussy pieces and although they were each lovely pieces, they altogether were sleep-inducing. I heard snoring all around me! So much so that I got the giggles and silently struggled to keep my composure. And the same thing happened throughout the Bach pieces. After intermission came the Brahms. This was definitely more interesting and I think everybody stayed awake. During the first half of the concert I wondered if Serkin could play anything louder than mf, and he proved that he could with these variations. They were long – lasting about 40 minutes, but they were very nice. I liked them. For the encore, he played three pieces. 1. Chopin – Etude Op. 25, no. 9. He ripped this off like it was nothing. Really nice! 2. A piece I did not know, but liked a lot. If anyone reading this knows, please chime in. 3. Schubert – Moment Musical Op. 94, no.3. Sounded perfect to me. The encore was the best part of the concert, I think. As far a technique goes, he did one thing that baffles me. He sometimes shook his finger when he pressed down on certain keys. Almost like he was trying to coax some vibrato out of the piano. Now, we all know that isn’t possible. Once the hammer strikes the strings - that’s it. Nothing more can be done to affect the sound. Also, it seems to me that this wastes some energy and could also lead to tension problems. Unless - and this just hit me – this is how he prevents tension. Hmmm….I dunno, maybe I’m wrong about all this. Or maybe it’s just something he does instinctively. Again, if anyone has any other ideas about this, please chime in. One more thing – he wore a black suit, including a black vest, white shirt, and red tie.