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Mother's Day At DANK Haus: A Classical Affair

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on May 14, 2014 9:55PM

For this “Mutter’s Tag,” we found ourselves on the fifth floor of DANK Haus in Lincoln Square, bathed in the mid-May sunlight, awaiting a Mother’s Day full of classical music with a German twist. DANK Haus has a nice facility, parking was easy and we enjoyed the laid-back nature of the goings-on on a holiday when most of us are scrambling for parking, stuffed into restaurant waiting areas and buried in a sea of loud noises.

This was a quieter, simpler Mother’s Day shindig, but not without its niceties. Mothers were handed beautiful long-stemmed red roses, provided by A Pretty Flower, and we were directed towards the promised kaffee and kuchen. There was a beautiful raspberry mousse and an elegant chocolate torte available for purchase courtesy CafĂ© Vienna, and wine, soda and water to sip as well. The line was completely manageable, though we did wish there were a few more people on hand to help. Still, we were easily able to enjoy the ballroom and find a good vantage point to see Valenti play prior to the start of the show.

As we previously mentioned, Valenti is well known for his piano forte and has given solo recitals all throughout the US and Europe, so this was no small get for DANK Haus. We were excited to hear him tickle the ivory Kimball’s ivories. Tickle he did, and though the opening Mozart’s dark tone seemed a strange opener for the event, it was immediately evident that the Kimball was in good hands. We preferred the bright and brilliant brush strokes of Valenti’s next piece. His treatment of the Debussy works Estampes, Pagodes, Soiree dans Granade and Jardins sous la pluie seemed to open up the room and transcend the piano at hand, bringing beautiful visions of faraway lands to mind. He added even more color to a piece full of expressive melodies and we felt transported. Valenti also had great fire and intensity in his performance of Chopin’s Ballade no. 2. It’s a piece that changes moods fairly frequently, and we thought he was able to easily go between them and bring them each to light.

Valenti finished out the afternoon with Beethovens Sonata no. 30 in E Major, and as the crowd of classically inclined mothers and daughters bobbed their heads with the rhythm, we basked in the glow of rich pastry, light libations and beautiful music. The crowd wasn’t done with him yet, as he performed one more piece before we were through. Overall, it was a well-organized, elegant yet laid-back affair that any music loving mom would have loved. We look forward to more events like this from DANK and hope to catch more of Mark Valenti’s precise and powerful piano playing, too.