Pianist Marc Silverman brought the audience of the John Wesley Powell Auditorium yesterday afternoon into an exclusive "Cosmos Club"--not the one adjacent to the hall, but the musical realm of Fre'de'ric Chopin, where Romantic fervor and delicacy team with tempo, rubato and moments of dream-like stasis. In a program devoted entirely to pieces by this composer, Silverman proved to be a fine Chopin interpreter, conquering most of the pianistic demands while rarely letting sentimentality get in the way of sentiment.
In his hands, the opening Barcarolle, Op. 60, glistened with its ornamented lyrical themes. Astute dynamic shading kept a tight rein on the rhapsodic section. Four Preludes from Op. 28 proceeded from the harmonic daydream of No. 1 in C Major to the fiery No. 22 in G Minor that concluded the set in preparation for a robust performance of the Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 42.
Silverman seemed positively transported by the F Minor Fantasy, a prismatic collection of emotional reflections that invites self-indulgence from the pianist. He charged straightway into Chopin's stormy barrage of rapid scale runs and stabbing chords, catching his breath during several introspective, comparatively quiescent portions, which he articulated splendidly.
Chopin's last large piano work, the Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61, found Silverman navigating a steady course through the treacherous musical swells that can swamp an ill-equipped performer. This is one of Chopin's freest compositions, and Silverman acquitted himself admirably; his phrasing was well-proportioned, his tone liquid.
His assured touch similarly graced the B Major Nocturne and Ballade in G Minor. Silverman made the Nocturne glow by approaching the descending trills subtly. In the Ballade, he played aggressively but with a decided lilt as he gradually eased the enthusiastic audience out of Chopin's Romantic cosmos.