A sample instead of a (full) review

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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A sample instead of a (full) review

Post by Ricordanza » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:04 am

The Philadelphia Orchestra concert on Thursday evening, April 12, was particularly enjoyable but difficult to review. The program consisted of two well-known and frequently performed works: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. What can I say about these pieces that hasn’t been said? There are some who say that the first of these works is too frequently performed. I would answer that a great performance justifies inclusion on a program.

And that brings me to the performance. Bartok’s work, by its very title, is a showcase for a great orchestra. Under the leadership of music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra sounds better with each performance, and Bartok’s amazing composition served as an ideal vehicle to display the ensemble’s virtuosity.

I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the soloist in the Rachmaninoff concerto, Daniil Trifonov, but I’m a little comforted by the fact that Yannick has the same problem. Before the concert began, Yannick addressed the audience, telling us that the Rachmaninoff would be recorded (for later release by DGG) and urging us to keep the coughs and other extraneous noises to a minimum. Twice, he referred to the “incredible” soloist we would be hearing. I cannot disagree.

The only “new” music I heard that night was Trifonov’s intriguing encore. When he began the piece, the tune was instantly familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. An email exchange with a fellow concertgoer and a Philadelphia Orchestra staff member revealed that it was Rachmaninoff’s transcription of the Preludio from Bach’s Partita No. 3 for solo violin. The best transcriptions take a piece composed for one instrument, or set of instruments, or voice, and transform it to a work that seems just right for the instrument that the transcriber has chosen. Rachmaninoff was a master of the transcription, and this is a prime example of this genre. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to hear Trifonov perform this piece at a future concert. If not, here he is on YouTube, performing this gem:


John F
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Re: A sample instead of a (full) review

Post by John F » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:17 am

"Incredible" as often used these days doesn't mean incredible at all, i.e. impossible to believe. Instead it means one thinks he, she, or it is very good. Better to use an adjective that means outstanding, superb, magnificent, whatever, or that describes just how he/she/it is outstanding.
John Francis

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