AN EVENING WITH STEPHEN PORTER
We met Stephen Porter when he was fifteen years old, but little did we know, upon that first meeting, that he would become the celebrated pianist he is today. That meeting took place here in Lucca more than thirty years ago when he was traveling with his parents, friends of friends, and we've never lost touch. As our house guest this week, he offered to perform for a few of our music-loving local friends.
It was a short program of Debussy, Scarlatti, Chopin and Bach...
... played on our 1845 Bosendorfer fortepiano.
You need to be a consummate musician to make this stubborn old piano do what you want it to. A few of the keys stick and the notes don't always complete but when making music is your goal the end result is perfection, moving and even thrilling, like a musical voyage back in time.
This is Stephen rehearsing for the evening recital.
I've never seen him with a piece of sheet music in front of him.
This is Stephen Porter, later that evening, in the midst of a short discussion about friendship and what it means to him, just prior to playing Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze," dedicated to Gil and me. I confess to getting a bit teary.
Stephen is now a "Resident Ancien" at the Cité International des Arts in Paris, where he was invited to play mostly Debussy for this, the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth.