0

Geoffrey Hopkins in concert: Beethoven piano sonatas

first_imgA programme consisting solely of Beethoven’s piano sonatas promised to be a challenging recital, but also a very rewarding experience for any pianist or listener.  The concert was performed by Oxford resident, Geoffrey Hopkins, at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St. Hilda’s College, on 18th January.  Despite containing music written by solely one composer, the recital was very varied.  Hopkins chose three sonatas, which were written at different stages of Beethoven’s life, and therefore differed greatly in style.    The opening sonata (Sonata in C major, op.2 no.3) was written in the early years of Beethoven’s compositional career and demonstrates the influence of early-classical period composers such as Mozart and Haydn.  Hopkins’ rendition of this sonata began wonderfully, with an expressive melody-line and secure finger-work.  The chords throughout were generally well balanced, although some of the larger chords lacked emphasis on the top line, and thus perhaps felt a little heavy for the style.  The third (Scherzo and Trio) movement was particularly enjoyable, although could perhaps have been a little more energetic, since some of the ‘bounce’ of the music was lost in the scalic passages.  The second sonata Hopkins played (Sonata in F minor, op. 57,‘Appassionata’) contrasted greatly with the first piece.  Hopkins seemed to enjoy the later, more romantic style, and this was evident in his performance. The tone was appropriately warm throughout all three movements of the work, and the first movement displayed some particularly impressive technical playing.  Hopkins’ performance of the ‘Appassionata’ sonata was particularly warmly received.    The final piece was Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor (op. 111).  This is the final sonata that Beethoven wrote for piano, and contains some unusual harmonies and chromaticism.  Again, Hopkins’ playing was striking and very stylistically fitting; the second movement was particularly beautiful and expressive.  Overall, Hopkins’ playing throughout this concert was convincing and technically assured, and the programme well chosen.  However, the concert perhaps deserved a more lively encore than that chosen by Hopkins.  After the intensity of the final two sonatas, a playful Beethoven scherzo or Schubert impromptu may have been more appropriate a conclusion than the slow movement from Beethoven’s G major sonata (op. 59).  In general, however, the audience was very impressed by Hopkins’ performance.    by Sarah Blackfordlast_img read more

0

Leuer stars in 1st half, Taylor finishes for Badgers

first_imgThe superhero set the tone early, and the sidekick finished it late. Together, they combined for 49 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists.That was the story for the Wisconsin Badgers (5-2) Saturday afternoon, as forward Jon Leuer scored 20 of his game-high (and career-high) 29 points in the first half against South Dakota. In the next half, point guard Jordan Taylor cemented the Badgers’ 76-61 win by contributing 14 of his 20 points in the game’s final 15 minutes. Taylor missed the first triple-double in UW history by one assist, finishing with nine and 11 rebounds.“How about that performance”? UW head coach Bo Ryan said of Taylor’s game. “Jordan was definitely the difference-maker.”In the first half, Leuer and the Badgers came out on fire on the offensive end. Against a South Dakota team that it knew would frequently push the ball up the court and take quick shots, Wisconsin took advantage of the many opportunities it saw on the offensive end. The Badgers shot 48.5 percent from the field in the first half, taking three more shots than South Dakota did en route to shooting 46.7 percent.Leuer converted seven of his 13 first-half shot attempts, including five of eight from behind the arc. The 6-10, 228 lb. senior also pulled down three rebounds in the first half, finishing with nine, and equaled his career-high with four blocks.“I definitely worked on [my shot] in the offseason, just trying to improve my shot and make it more consistent,” Leuer said. “But basically, just taking the looks that the defense gives me and trying to make the right reads. Jordan was finding me in some spots, and he penetrates the lane so well that a lot of times, the defense has to collapse on him. It’s mainly just spotting up and getting my feet set and getting down ready to shoot it. I think that’s the biggest difference.”Each team had seven turnovers in the first half, but the Badgers had only two in the second half and the Coyotes had five. Wisconsin also finished with 20 assists, and as a result, the Badgers’ assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.80 on the season surpassed Kansas’ 1.78 as the nation’s best.“We haven’t been one of the best teams in the country as far as taking care of the ball by accident,” Ryan said. “You just follow the rules.”While Ryan was unhappy with the Badgers’ first-half turnovers, the defense surely assuaged those concerns in the second half. The Coyotes scored only 24 points in the second half, and they shot a poor 28 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three-point range. For the game, South Dakota finished 38.2 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from behind the arc.Taylor was also a big reason for the Badgers’ second half improvement. After shooting 3-6 from the field and 0-2 from behind the arc, Taylor continued his hot shooting with 4-9 and 2-4 in the second half, respectively. The 6-1, 195 lb. point guard also finally got to the foul line in the second half, sinking all four of his attempts.“I was trying to be aggressive and trying to create other opportunities for myself and for my teammates, whatever the defense allows,” Taylor said. “I think we were attacking a little bit.”For Leuer, Taylor’s complete game effort was remarkable.“He showed tonight just how he runs the show,” Leuer said. “Like I said, he’s just able to get in the lane, just cause so many different problems for the defense that they have to help on him. He just makes great decisions with the ball, too. He finds the open guy; he’s just a fun point guard to play with. I’m glad we have him on our side.”last_img read more

0

Center Clifford tops Boston College in rebounding after missing time last season with knee injury

first_imgDennis Clifford celebrated with his Boston College teammates after they ended Syracuse’s magical 25-0 start, but he was conflicted.The 7-foot-1 center felt elated to beat the then-No. 1 team in the country on its home court, but was also disappointed to not be a part of the historic win because of his injured left knee.“Obviously I was happy that we won. It was incredible,” Clifford said. “But when you feel like you could make a team better and contribute, it’s hard.”A healthy Clifford and BC (8-8, 0-4 Atlantic Coast) return to Syracuse (13-5, 4-1) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the team’s first matchup since that upset. After missing all but two games last season and playing hurt for his sophomore season, Clifford has returned to the Boston College lineup this season. He’s making an immediate difference in the Eagles frontcourt.Against SU, he’ll likely be tasked with guarding the Orange big man, Rakeem Christmas, who was named ACC Player of the Week on Monday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textClifford’s 5.9 rebounds per game have filled a much-needed void for BC, particularly in light of the transfer of last season’s leading rebounder, Ryan Anderson, to Arizona. Clifford’s left knee problems during the 2014 campaign were the first of his career, but he believes he’s now better than before his injury.Clifford started 25 games his freshman season, averaging 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds. He was optimistic and excited at the prospect of embracing an increased role as a sophomore.But during one practice early the next fall, Clifford went up for a dunk and he felt his knee pop. That dunk attempt marked the beginning of knee troubles that plagued him as he played hurt throughout that sophomore season.Clifford’s minutes declined from 26.9 during his freshman campaign to 14.6 in his second season with the Eagles. The injury became so bad that he would sit out entire practices just to be healthy enough to play when games rolled around.There was a lingering pain Clifford experienced each time he jumped for a rebound or ran up and down the court.“I was still on the court and playing, but I couldn’t do anything that I wanted to do,” Clifford said. “I was out there and going through the motions… They had me out there to just be a big body because that’s what we needed at the time. I wasn’t playing basketball.”Clifford underwent surgery following that 2012–13 season and was expected to return to the Eagles’ lineup for January and ACC play. After two games experiencing pain in early January against Virginia Tech and Clemson, he decided to halt his return.He began exercising with ankle weights, such as the leg raises he would do in the BC training room. But to ensure that he got to full strength, Clifford visited nearby orthopedic rehab specialist Hank DeGroat, who helped reevaluate his rehab.Clifford said he before he could make strides on the court, DeGroat had him start his rehabilitation in the pool.“He increased my flexibility and strength by making me do things like defensive slides, jumping and running,” Clifford said.This past summer, Clifford returned to his high school, Milton Academy (Massachusetts) to play with other alumni. His former coach, Lamar Reddicks, knew things were going to turn around for his former star center after watching the first few possessions of the pick-up game.“He looked unbelievable just moving up and down,” Reddicks said. “I texted him later that night and said, ‘That’s the best I’ve seen you move in a long time.’It might have been even been better than he looked before the injury.”This season, Clifford feels he is stronger and more explosive than ever.He does a better job controlling and holding his own in the paint, and he’s pain-free when he competes with fellow big men for rebounds.“This was a guy who struggled to get up stairs,’’ BC head coach Jim Christian said during ACC media day on Oct. 29. “Now he’s 100 percent and he’s going to be a difference-maker. It’s like getting a new recruit who’s established and played and effective.’’ Comments Published on January 20, 2015 at 12:14 am Contact Liam: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

0

John Terry: I’ll play to 40 to be Chelsea’s Ryan Giggs

first_imgChelsea defender John Terry is convinced that he still has more than half a decade of top class football left in him at Stamford Bridge.In words that will be hugely popular with the Chelsea fans who have styled him the club’s “captain, leader and legend” Terry claims that he has worked hard on his fitness in the last few years and believes that will allow him to have a long playing career like former Manchester United midfielder Giggs.Giggs called time on a remarkable 23-year, trophy-laden United career at the age of 40 to take on the role of assistant manager to Louis van Gaal last year. The 34-year-old Terry played a big role in Chelsea’s title run last season and has no plans to stop anytime soon.”In the last four or five years I’ve done a lot of extra work, not just at the training ground,” Terry told Sky Sports News. “Putting the effort in the gym, training ground, off the pitch and eat the right food, I’m hoping to carry on as a long as possible. “There’s an opportunity you see with players like Giggs of playing until a very big age.”Terry quit international football in 2012 after the Football Association banned him for four matches when he was accused of making a racist remark to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. He was cleared of the allegation in a London court. The central defender believes quitting international football helped keep his fitness at a level where he was able to play every minute of the London club’s triumphant league season. Only four players, three of them goalkeepers, had previously featured in every game of a Premier League title-winning campaign before Terry.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more