Pianist dedicates Valentine’s concert to wife

University of Alabama piano professor Noel Engebretson will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of his greatest loves: classical music. Engebretson will be paying tribute to the holiday with a piano recital Thursday night at Moody Music Hall.

“St. Valentines Day is the day of love,” Engebretson said. “And I can think of no better medium to convey the passions, the beauty and the eternal joy of true love than music.”

Engebretson said the concert is also dedicated to his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife.

“This concert is for her,” he said.

Engebretson has played piano professionally since his early 20s, often performing for the University.

“I concertize quite a bit, and I have played concerts [at UA] several times per year since 1992,” he said.

He is also an internationally acclaimed concert pianist.

“I have concertized in China with three tours there, and I have performed in Serbia, Italy and Ecuador,” he said. “I have a series of concerts upcoming in Ecuador, and I am hoping to establish a cultural link between The University of Alabama and Ecuador, which is of great interest to them too.”

The recital is dedicated to celebrating the intense feeling of love. Engebretson said the concert will consist of “music of the passions.”

“I wanted more than just ‘syrupy’ slow music. I wanted to explore the passions connected with love,” he said. “I also wanted to include composers that we don’t normally associate with love music, such as Bach and Beethoven.”

Some of the pieces that will be played will be Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Sonata Op. 13 and the Fantasy Impromptu by Chopin. Another piece will be “Widmung” by Schumann, which has a romantic backstory.

“[He] wrote this as his life’s dedication to his new wife Clara, because he had no money to give her a wedding present,” Engebretson said. “He dedicates his joys, his sorrows, even to the grave, to Clara.”

The concert is open to the general public. Engebretson said he believes anyone would enjoy it, even if they are not familiar with the music.

“I hope that people who come to their first classical concert are invigorated by it,” he said. “I have a personal philosophy in that I believe that we should never bore an audience. If a piece is too grueling for an audience, no matter how much I love that piece, I won’t offer it to a general audience.”

One prospective audience member, Anthony James, said he is excited to hear the performance.

“I love classical music,” James, a freshman majoring in microbiology and Spanish, said. “You just get really frustrated and tired of the lack of creativity in some of today’s music, so classical musical provides an escape from that.”

Engebretson said music has the power to convey almost all human emotions.

“Classical music, to me, is the most exciting music in existence,” Engebretson said. “It speaks to every emotion I have ever known but one.”

Engebretson said the “one” other emotion was holding his daughter for the first time. He even relates that to the passion of music.

“I held her the second that the nurses would let me, and it was like being hit by a ton of the most wonderful bricks one could imagine,” he said. “I have never felt anything that powerful or that overwhelming, and all in such an aura of the happiest beauty and love. Beauty and love; that is what I hope people take away from this concert.”

Engbretson’s concert will be held Thursday, Feb. 14, in Moody’s concert hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets costs $3 for students, $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, call (205) 348-7111.

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