The NSO performs a two-part tour de force at the Kennedy Center – NehalBlog

Thursday night time on the Kennedy Heart, the Nationwide Symphony Orchestra demonstrated that you do not have to sing Christmas carols to channel the vacation spirit. You simply want sensible company and large parts.

Viewers are so accustomed to the same old three-course, prix fixe packages that our stomachs can growl at any disruption to the pacing. However the practically full live performance corridor on Thursday appeared greater than glad with the meat and potatoes of the night: Led by Finnish conductor Dima Slobodeniouk and joined by pianist Yefim Bronfman, the NSO delivered searing accounts of the Brahms’ terrific “Piano Concerto No. 2” from 1881 and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4” from 1878. It was the sort of live performance you come dwelling from.

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It is also the sort of gig that makes you marvel why we do not get this one-two method extra usually. Actually, a program of two works lasting 40 to 50 minutes represents a extra demanding check of the already exhausted consideration span, to not point out the power to combat a cough. However within the case of those two titanic works by Brahms and Tchaikovsky, this balanced presentation of near-contemporary music can supply listeners a helpful sense of cohesion – and a sure diploma of pressure.

In spite of everything, there’s Bravo-level drama right here. Piotr had few candy emotions to share about Johannes.

Over time, in his diary and letters, Tchaikovsky known as the marginally older Brahms (with whom, seven years later, he shared a birthday) a “scoundrel,” a “giftless bastard,” and a ” caricature of Beethoven.

“It makes me indignant that this pretentious mediocrity is taken into account a genius,” he scratched in his diary. “I can not stand it,” he declared flatly in an 1880 letter to Nadezhda von Meck (the benefactress of his fourth symphony and the “finest good friend” talked about in his dedication).

For the sake of the vacation, it’s price noting {that a} Christmas social gathering episode in Leipzig in 1887 quickly softened relations: “I drank with Brahms – he loves consuming terribly, ; she is a really good individual and by no means as proud as I had imagined.

That mentioned, and regardless of a coupling that neither composer would ever have licensed, these two nice works received alongside nicely, falling helplessly right into a productive and infrequently breathless dialog.

Slobodeniouk and Bronfman gave performances {of professional} precision and outsized presence, navigating the concerto with apparent affection for its sentimental colours and shifting moods. This was notably true for the Finn, former musical director of Galicia Symphony Orchestra, and currently I have been enjoying up a storm with any massive orchestra you possibly can consider. Somebody sensible will catch him.

Bronfman was in dazzling kind, releasing what usually appeared an not possible lightness by way of the primary motion and sustaining a straightforward dialogue with the strings, the oboes, the horns, as if he had been strolling by way of a celebration.

The 65-year-old pianist is a pleasure to listen to and take a look at – at the same time as he sits in affected person silence awaiting his subsequent entry – bringing intense colours with no hint of sparkle, disguising opulence with a tailor-made minimize .

He lit up the second motion – ​​a bonus scherzo on this atypical concerto – with bristling accents contrasted by light, introspective asides. Cellist David Hardy acquired a post-performance handshake from Bronfman and extended applause from the viewers with sinuous strains woven by way of the fantastically wispy andante third motion.

And the finale was a high quality instance of teamwork between conductor and soloist, Bronfman and Slobodeniouk wrapping his allegretto grazioso round them – with these elastic Hungarian rhythms and jaunty finale. Like every good social gathering, it ended earlier than you needed it to.

(After prolonged applause, Bronfman returned to answer requests for encores with a swirling studying of Chopin’s “Etude Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor,” aka “the Revolutionary Research.”)

Slobodeniouk’s return after intermission made me marvel simply how guarded Crimson Bull is behind the scenes on the Kennedy Heart. Maybe it’s merely the character of the beast that’s “Symphony No. 4” – as tender and tumultuous a bit of music as Tchaikovsky ever composed – however the conductor arrived on stage, seemingly recharged to inform an amplified story of this symphonic tug of warfare. -war between the pleasures of life and the promise of future.

From its bracing opening motto of horns, Slobodeniouk embraced the grandeur and style of the primary motion, whereas preserving its proverbial sense of private area. He left huge swathes of damaging area and let the orchestra develop into them – thrilling string constructions and seductive flute and woodwind themes all achieved one thing like excessive definition.

The lilting second motion, with its silky oboe, was fantastically realized – though I may need appreciated somewhat extra depth and punch in its choruses. The third motion’s scherzo’s whimsical, bristling pizzicato-fest would tickle any ASMR lover – the dynamic winds blowing by way of the orchestra raised the harmonic swells to sudden heights.

And its folk-infused finale “allegro con fuoco” constructed its modest theme – the Russian folks tune “Within the Subject There Was a Little Birch” – into imposing brass declarations. Slobodeniouk was completely liable for his racing tuttis and thrilling timbral collisions, his charging momentum and his deluge of particulars. It was the top of a colossal piece on the finish of a protracted night time – and a memorable portion of what we come to the live performance corridor for.

Yefim Bronfman performs Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 | Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony repeats Friday and Saturday on the Kennedy Heart Live performance Corridor.

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