Kevin Kern Piano Recital
University Cultural Centre
Saturday (4 December 2010)
At worst, he is less annoying or pretentious than the above-named self-styled icons of mush. At best, the visually-impaired pianist who walks on stage with a cane that folds up like nunchaku sticks is actually inspiring. Playing mostly his original music and transcriptions, he comes across as affable and sincere.
His pieces, with soppy titles like The Touch Of Love, Joy Of The Journey and Remembering The Light, are short, mostly monothematic, ingratiatingly tuneful and invariably (with one exception) in the “happy” major key. No minor chords, no dynamic shifts to jolt the senses, and no development to tax the mind.
A simple theme is introduced, repeated with slight variation and before boredom sets in, comes to a peaceable close at the third or fourth minute. Besides wallowing in melody, piano students can learn from his steadiness of rhythm, reassuring harmonies and mastery of legato (smooth and seamless) playing.
a most evocative piece
and only work in the minor key.
The only work in the minor key was Ancient Guardians, which wavered ambiguously between modes before settling down in G minor. A static pace and nod to early music made it memorable. In Dance Of The Dragonfly, Kern improvised like a jazzman for some measures and threw in some blue notes for good measure - easily the most eventful piece.
KK with the inconsequential string quartet
and underworked guitarist.