NWC News Desk

March comes in with a lion on the keyboard Saturday, March 1

Posted February 19, 2008

P O W E L L, W y o. - March comes in like a lion this year - on the keyboards, that is. Classical pianist Tim Schoessler will kick off the windy month with a recital Saturday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium at Northwest College in Powell.

Schoessler will showcase his fearless lion-like command of the ivories with Franz Liszt's "Reminiscences of Norma." The piece uses all of Liszt's piano tricks, from frightening octaves and huge chords to his favorite compositional technique of surrounding a melody in the middle of the keyboard with lightning-fast scale or arpeggio passages. According to Schoessler, Liszt's first audiences did not believe it was humanly possible to play all those notes. Listeners often came away from his concerts believing that Liszt was either possessed or had supernatural powers.

Schoessler's audience won't get to make that judgment of him right away - he saves the Liszt for last. The preceding works, however, aren't without challenge - he begins the program with "Prelude and Fugue in C Minor from Well-Tempered Clavier Book I," by Johann Sebastian Bach. All 24 preludes and fugues in the book, one in each major and minor key, were written to illustrate how tuning a keyboard instrument with an even-tempered tuning scale made every key listenable.

He also takes on Franz Joseph Haydn's "Sonata in E-Flat Major, Hob. 52," composed in 1794 when Haydn was 62 years old. It was the composer's final piano sonata, written in the classical vein with hints of the then emerging Romantic style.

Schoessler moves directly from Haydn's "light, fun work with wonderful sparkle and charm" to Beethoven's "Rage Over a Lost Penny." While this relatively small piece wasn't given its familiar nickname until after Beethoven's death in 1827, Schoessler says "it's very easy to imagine the eccentric composer frantically searching for a lost coin while listening to this piece."

Also on the program is a sonata by Sergei Prokofiev, replete with all the expected emphasis on melody and voice leading.

For this evening recital, Schoessler breaks from his usual routine (and reputation) as a classical pianist by day and heavy-metal guitarist by night. His last public appearance on the Northwest College campus was in January as a guest of the NWC Writers Series. It was his heavy-metal persona that was called on then when he talked about his experience writing sound track material for a soon-to-be-released movie.

Schoessler is in his third year as pianist and piano instructor for the NWC Music Department. He holds a bachelor's degree in keyboard performance from the University of Wyoming, where he studied piano with Theresa Bogard and organ with Steven Hoffman.

Admission to the Saturday recital is free.