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While nicely played, Ravel's La vallee des cloches from Miroirs lacked the dreamy magic that is the sine qua non of impressionism. Goodyear seemed to only touch the music's surface. He played with much more freedom and tonal allure in his own composition August -- a pleasant, if unmemorable essay in New Age music (in the manner of Yanni). In the famous Schulz/Elver transcription of that Johann Strauss Jr evergreen On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Goodyear played the cascading octaves and pyrotechnical leaps with brilliance and assurance. What his performance lacked was the charm and lilt that are the central focus of the Viennesse waltz -- strangely joyless Strauss. As an encore Goodyear offered a vibrant rendition of George Gershwin's Embraceable You in a transcription by the octogenarian keyboard virtuoso (and Gershwin specialist par excellence) Earl Wild. Here Goodyear played with a rich tonal palette and a sense of the music's intoxicating glow.
Stewart Goodyear remains a prodigiously gifted young pianist. His Beethoven sonata performance revealed considerable musical potential. He needs to grow as an artist and rely less on bombastic effects and hard driven pianism -- the difference between technical facility and musicianship.