With an arsenal of three instruments, a synthesizer, several microphones, and a collection of childrens’ toys, Genevieve Feiwan Lee, Pomona piano professor, commanded the Little Bridges stage during her Saturday night solo recital. In a tour-de-force of keyboard literature, Lee offered a sampling of five centuries of keyboard music, ranging from the Baroque Troisieme Ordre in C of Couperin to an electronic, post-twentieth century composition of Tom Flaherty.
Before an audience of Claremont community members, sprinkled with 5Cs students, Ms. Lee took her bow, sat down at the harpsichord, and poised to play Couperin’s canonical work. The distinctly Baroque sound of the harpsichord, coupled with the extensive ornamentations and continuousness of the piece, provided a refreshing and settling introduction to the recital.
At the piece’s end, the stage crew wheeled away the box-like harpsichord to reveal the prominent gold “Steinway & Sons Co.” label embossed onto the grand piano. Ms. Lee returned onto stage to perform Debussy’s Estampes, an early twentieth century impressionistic composition, followed by Brahms’s late romantic Kavierstucke, Op. 119.
At some point during intermission, I looked up on stage to see a cute (albeit almost laughable) toy piano, which seemed fit for Stuart Little, much less a concert pianist. After a fairly lengthy series of technical troubles, in which the synthesizer failed to produce its part of a toy piano/electronics duet, Ms. Lee began playing Flaherty’s Shepherd’s Pi.
Following this fascinating showcase of rhythmic experimentation, Ms. Lee remained on the toy piano, sitting on a bench so low that her knees rose sharply into the air, for her final piece, Wrong, wrong, wrong. While her fingers danced over the keyboard, Ms. Lee simultaneously recited a poem in Chinese and produced an interesting aural sampling with an array of children’s toys. The piece was fascinating, thought-provoking, and, at times, bizarre, but the audience, expressing its respect for the piece’s difficulty and Ms. Lee’s talent, ended the concert with a standing ovation.
Reviewed by Marisa Weisberger