|Liszt||Piano Concerto No 2||21’|
|Rachmaninov||Symphony No 3||39’|
Víkingur Ólafsson’s encore – Rameau – Le Rappel des Oiseaux
A song of exile; bittersweet, jazzy and heartbreakingly lyrical. Vladimir Ashkenazy adores it, and few living conductors match his understanding and empathy for this music.If you don’t already know Rachmaninov’s Third,this performance with the Philharmonia might just make you fall in love.
Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
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… “But there was nothing comical about their partnership in Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, Ashkenazy collaborating with experienced insight, Olafsson ruminative and fiercely attacking by turns (and his thumbs must be among the most elastic in the business), taking self-possessed ownership of a work which remains bitty, for all its thematic unity.
At the top of its musicianly form, the Philharmonia responded thrillingly to the score’s proto-Wagnerian orchestral writing, with full marks to the cello soloist.
Olafsson gave us a delightful encore in the shape of a miniature by Jean-Philippe Rameau. When’s the last time we heard anything of that baroque master in Symphony Hall?
Both pianist and conductor had the courtesy to turn and acknowledge the audience in the choir-stalls; not all performers do that. And Ashkenazy, brimming with enthusiasm, gave virtual embraces to the entire audience and his orchestra after the two Rachmaninov works which framed this memorable evening.
The Rock, a Tchaikovskyian rarity (indeed, much admired by that composer) was warmly, engagingly delivered, with frolicsome flute and clarinet solos, and a genuine sense of ongoing narrative.” …