Louis Roney: Lise, Hillary, and even Cicero

The Bach Festival's Visiting Artist Series opened the concert season with panache! Young and lovely, Ms. de la Salle played a prodigious program.

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  • | 6:41 a.m. October 29, 2015
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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• Pianist Lise de la Salle performed on Thursday, Oct. 22, in Rollins Colleges’ Tiedtke Hall and demonstrated all the necessary strength, poetry, delicate touch, and musical finesse to bring her piano program to life for her listening public. The Bach Festival’s Visiting Artist Series opened the concert season with panache! Young and lovely, Ms. de la Salle played a prodigious program of Liszt Transcriptions, Beethoven Piano Sonata #32 in C minor, Op. 111, selections from Ligeti “Etudes,” and the Brahms “Variations on a Theme” by Handel Op. 24.

The Liszt Transcriptions included Mozart’s “Lacrimosa,” Schumann’s “Widmung,” Schumann’s “Frülingsnacht,” Schubert’s “Ständchen,” and Wagner’s “Isolde’s Liebestod.” As all the transcriptions were from songs, Ms. de la Salle played with appropriate touch and singing melody. I noted many in the audience were nodding their heads as they identified the lush songs.

In Beethoven’s demanding final Piano Sonata No. 32, de la Salle sustained all the pianistic demands without tiring physically or mentally. She had power galore when called for, and played the quietest, seemless runs and smooth trills with great beauty.

After intermission Ms. de la Salle chose three “Etudes” by Gröygy Ligeti displaying her rhythmic abilities in a plethora of notes from top to bottom of the piano. Finally, testing the skill and artistry of any pianist attempting the 25 variations by Brahms on a theme of Handel, she performed with élan and poetry. As Harold Schoenberg, the old-time critic of the New York Times used to say, “She’s got plenty of fingers!”

Somehow, I had the feeling Ms. de la Salle was playing for a competition or a sophisticated New York audience instead of a relaxed appreciative packed hall in Winter Park, hungry for great music. Indeed the standing ovation was justified!

• The question is: Did Hillary do anything wrong re the Benghazi travesty? Rudy Giuliani had given 11 possible laws that might have been broken. Dick Morris said that Hillary would again walk away from the whole debacle, as usual, with no answer to that question or any other. Funny, when the Democrats want to go after someone, it is always the president’s fault — but not one Republican asked about Hillary’s connection or connections with the president on that fateful day. Phone calls? Emails? Meetings?! Perhaps it is time to get a whole new team in there who knows how to ask a pertinent question. Looks like “Teflon Hillary” gets away with evasion again.

• “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within,” wrote Marcus Tullius Cicero. “An enemy outside the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely. His sly whispers rustle through all the alleys, and are heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not to be a traitor. He speaks in accents familiar to his victims; he wears their face and their arguments. He appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation. He works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city. He infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

Roman orator and statesman Cicero might logically have repeated his incisive words today on the steps of the Capitol in Washington.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” said President Thomas Jefferson. We know that Jefferson studied Cicero. Did Hillary? What about todays Prexy? “Forewarned is forearmed,” has always been good advice. Perhaps this time we electors should remember Cicero before we vote!


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