Erice’s classical overtures


The giant chandeliers were lit and the stage was set for the Spanish pianist to weave his musical magic on his Nepali audience, who had gathered to hear him play on this November 21 evening.

And Leopoldo Erice did not disappoint.

His performance which traversed the Western Classical period — “from the Baroque era to the present time” — was divided into two sections — the first half comprised classical pieces by some of the world’s greates maestros like Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Fryderyk Chopin and Claude Debussy, while the second half was devoted to Franz Schubert.

Before each recital Erice gave a brief introduction of the piece he was going to play making it easier for his audience to follow.

When he began to play, you could hear a pin drop — the ballroom was so silent out of respect for the music Erice was playing, and out of awe at the brilliance of his performance.

As he had pointed out, one could trace and follow the three voices narrating a story as he played Bach, while in Haydn the themes merged and departed to give a harmony that he had earlier talked about.

“This piece by Chopin does not sound as technical as it is,” said Erice of the Etude, which had the notes chasing each other round and round in circles. Debussy’s Legend of the Sunken Cathedral had “oriental” overtures and one could make out the sound of an eastern gong as Erice’s expert fingers flew over the keys telling us the story of the Cathedral and the evil forces trying to fling open the gates of the dam.

Opening the concert, charge d’affaires of EU Eduardo Lechuga Jimenez said, “Let Erice’s music herald the peace that Nepal has found.” We say Amen!

Erice’s performance was jointly presented by the Embassy of Spain and Delegation of the European Commission. The proceeds from the concert will go for the benefit of the Kathmandu University’s Department of Music, Bhaktapur. Professing his belief in music Erice said, “For any country to develop, education is necessary. And more so education in music because it teaches one discipline and patience.”