At one point in Joseph Moog’s March 13 piano recital at Portland State University’s Lincoln Performance Hall, the 28-year old German pianist unexpectedly blanked for a split second. He expertly recovered, and it’s likely the only audience members who noticed were those who were intimately familiar with the work, Claude Debussy’s “Souvenir from The Louvre” (an alternative version of the better known Sarabande from his suite Pour le Piano.) Nonetheless, Moog went back to the top, as if Debussy had written a section repeat, and the second time played through flawlessly and with unimpaired lyricism. He was determined to get it right!
It was a telling moment. Moog seems to be a determined young man. He smiles engagingly at the audience, and speaks of himself deprecatingly, but this Portland Piano International visiting artist, who also appeared March 12 with a different program, was all business when it came time to make the piano do what he wanted.
Of course, anyone who seeks to stand on equal footing with the world’s touring piano virtuosos must be unusually strong-willed already. The thousands of hours of practicing required are only the beginning. Moog’s program on the 13th demonstrated that he has thoroughly mastered all such preliminaries.