National Symphony Orchestra brings a mélange to the Kennedy Center

Garrick Ohlsson
Washington Post

Garrick Ohlsson then offered the Barber Piano Concerto, his rich, Brahmsian sound bringing quite a different color to the piece than its longtime proponent John Browning did. The concerto is a strong work, though with oddities — long stretches where the soloist is silent, a lyrical second theme that should’ve brought an infringement lawsuit from Shostakovich, and a slow movement whose plein-air texture cannot mask a limp sense of development. Mena and the NSO were not all together at all times, either. But there is much beauty in the piece, and Ohlsson’s magisterial playing carried the day, as it often does.
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