Richard Goode — whose recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall Tuesday night was a splendid and noble affair — is the singing pianist.
He may not be the only one. Nor is he without his own brand of funny business. One elusive ideal of pianism is the sleight-of-hand art of persuading the listener that a percussion instrument can produce connected pitches, that the player can somehow finesse the resonating sound after a hammer has hit its strings. The greatest masters of the keyboard tend to be the ones who have found individual ways to defy the laws of physics through various forms of psycho-acoustical tomfoolery.
Goode is such a master. He is also a type. A 66-year-old New Yorker from the Bronx, he appears on stage like a kindly uncle. His white hair is long, cut like an 18th century wig that Haydn might have donned. His formal tails were a bit baggy this evening. On stage, lost in the music, he had a slightly distracted air, bobbing and making facial expressions. He was also a singing pianist in that he occasionally hummed along. He’s no Glenn Gould eccentric or Lang Lang showboat, but absent-minded professor seems to fit.