Masterclass Review: Thomas Hecht
by Kyoo Hye Lim
Thomas Hecht, Professor of Piano at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, gave a masterclass on July 9, 2013 at the Reginna Auditorium, Maiori, Italy. Hecht’s compelling way of communicating and interacting with the student and the audience allowed everyone to enjoy fascinating glimpses of Hecht’s musical concepts, thoughts and pianism. The class began with Natalie Nedvetsky playing the elegiac slow movement of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 with passion and sensitivity, embracing a wide range of emotion. Prof. Hecht engaged both the student and the audience with his imagery and characterization of harmonies. He also introduced various ways of pedalling to “phrase with resonance," and how to retain the private and speaking voice of the piano. The second piece was Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 performed by Stephanie Zi Yi Yang. She played with great facility and drama to portray the narrative of the piece. The tragic story was highlighted by Prof. Hecht’s thorough textural organization of resonance, and his imaginative sense of tonal movement. He also elaborated on the concept of “light and shade” and how to filter the sound while playing and listening simultaneously. The masterclass ended with Tony Zhang playing the first movement of the charming Beethoven Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 22. Praising Zhang’s exciting momentum and spirit in his playing, Hecht went on to enliven the music by making points on appropriate Beethovenian color, dynamic and various shading to consistently express the mood and perspective. He also gave advice on how to practice certain figurations, which was informative and useful for many students in the audience. Professor Hecht’s masterclass was an illuminating and informative experience for all in attendance.