In my opinion: Florian Noack

In my opinion: Florian Noack

May 8, 2023
A review by Walter Ponce

The program started with a beautifully played transcription of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. In the first movement, Noack imaginatively created the different shades between the tuttis and  solo sections. Bach himself made many all-string concerto arrangements for piano, so Noack’s  version felt natural and well fit for the piano. The relentless runs of the third movement were  particularly admirable. 

Reading that the program included a transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous Sheherazade, I  was skeptical that the amazing orchestral colors of this master of orchestration — and inspiration  to Ravel, Stravinsky, and other great orchestrators — could be reproduced with the severe  limitations inherent in a piano. However, Noack most creatively and musically succeeded in  making this a successful piano work, played with great sensitivity and temperament. Noack’s  transcription made us forget about the violin, clarinet, flute, or bassoon solos. It was a piano work  gorgeously played. Noack loved playing his creation, and that enjoyment was projected to the  audience. 

There were beautiful moments in the Liszt and Lyapunov Transcendental Etudes (the first part of  Lyapunov’s Berceuse was particularly poignant) and unfailing impressive technical skills. Noack has  a great affinity for Lyapunov, outwardly unperturbed while dealing with a Tsunami of wave after  wave of notes. In the Etude by Liszt, “Agitato molto” in f minor, the underlying character is based  on a syncopated theme, projecting anxiety, perhaps despair. Possibly because of the breathtaking  pace, the syncopation was not always clear. That, however, is a minuscule speck in an otherwise  exciting and technically magnificent performance. 

Indeed, Florian Noack is a remarkable, creative, and original pianist. One looks forward to hearing  him again.

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