Recent News
12.12.18
Keith Lockhart
KEITH LOCKHART JOINS THE ROSTER
12.10.18
Vienna Boys Choir
Classical Album of the Week: Vienna Boys Choir Sings Strauss
WRTI
12.07.18
JoAnn Falletta, Mariss Jansons, David Alan Miller, Peter Oundjian, Patrick Summers, Alexandre Tharaud, Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider , Mason Bates, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich , Academy of St Martin in the Fields , Les Violons du Roy , Anthony Roth Costanzo, Nathan Gunn
2019 Grammy Nominees
Grammy Awards
12.07.18
New York Philharmonic String Quartet , Yefim Bronfman
Bronfman, NY Philharmonic Quartet impress at Linton Series
Cincinnati Business Courier
12.06.18
Aaron Diehl
Pianist Diehl in jazz trio plays varied concert in Palm Beach
Palm Beach Daily News
12.06.18
Julian Wachner
This Is the Best ‘Messiah’ in New York
The New York Times
12.04.18
Sir Andrew Davis
ELGAR The Music Makers. The Spirit of England (Davis)
Gramophone
12.03.18
Chanticleer
Chanticleer Christmas concert, 11/30/18
Divamensch
12.01.18
Ward Stare
Twin pianists deliver impeccable style in ‘Perfect Pairs’ concert
Sarasota Herald Tribune
11.27.18
Richard Kaufman
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA HAUNTS THE SOROYA IN REAL TIME
Broadway World

News archive »

Guest pianist Garrick Ohlsson gives richness and nuance to Chopin concerto.

02.18.10
Garrick Ohlsson
The Star Tribune

By William Randall Beard

A virtually full house greeted Garrick Ohlsson's triumphant return to Orchestra Hall on Thursday, playing the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 with Minnesota Orchestra. It's been nearly 30 years since his debut with the orchestra, and he remains a poet of the keyboard.

The great Romantic concertos set up the soloist and orchestra as equal forces. Chopin was content to assign his orchestra the role of accompanist, throwing the spotlight onto the soloist. And Ohlsson shone.

His was a richly nuanced performance, but one with no sense of self-aggrandizement. He prodigious gifts seemed always in service of the music. Particularly enjoyable were the operatic flights of fancy in the slow movement and the dazzling evocation of a mazurka in the finale.

The original-instruments movement has informed the way we hear the repertoire of the Classical Period, exposing large-scale Romantic interpretations of Mozart as historically inaccurate and missing the point of the music. It's hard for a large contemporary orchestra to achieve the desired transparency.

Music director Osmo Vänskä, for the first time with Minnesota Orchestra, led a dramatic reading of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 that captured the melancholy minor key essence of the symphony. But he maintained a Classical delicacy, as in the rococo ornaments in the second movement.

The propulsive energy of the Minuet balanced nicely with the clarity and instrumental detail of the finale, although that movement lacked the final degree of tragic import.

Beethoven's "Grosse Fuge," originally written as the final movement of a string quartet, was such a massive, demanding piece that Beethoven replaced it in the quartet and let it stand on its own. The late Michael Steinberg arranged it for string orchestra, increasing its monumental scope.

In a fugue, one voice states the themes and the other voices successively play them, interweaving with each other repetitively. The complexity of the counterpoint in this fugue is challenging for both musicians and audience.

Vänskä once again demonstrated his affinity for Beethoven. He kept a firm hand on the work's elaborate structure, without neglecting the epic passions of late Beethoven.

It is distressing to note that this program contained barely an hour of music. For people paying top price, that works out to more than a dollar an minute. This increasing brevity is a disturbing trend.